Digital Health Here to Stay: Covid-19 Impacting the Digital Health Landscape
After a year of learning from the pandemic, we now highlight how Covid-19 accelerated digital health and considerations for sustainable, equitable, and accessible healthcare for people worldwide.
The adoption of telemedicine and remote patient monitoring rose rapidly last year: Amongst physicians, use of telephone and video exploded from 20% to over 80%, making virtual care available at most practices almost overnight, while consumer usage grew by 10% across live video telemedicine, wearable ownership, and digital health metric tracking. While the demand for digital health solutions increased, both innovator and investor interest in digital health has grown: in 2020, a total of $21.6B was raised by digital health companies, a 55% increase from 2019. Investments in the two top growth segments, telemedicine and remote patient monitoring, nearly tripled in 2020.
- 2019: $1.1B
- 2020: $3.1B
Remote Patient Monitoring Funding
- 2019: $417M
- 2020: $971M
What began as a quick response to Covid-19 in 2020 has become an enduring wave of investments in digital health. Compared to nine mega deals in 2019 and 40 across all of 2020, 26 digital health companies closed deals greater than $100M already in Q1 2021. Telemedicine and remote patient monitoring remain the driver of digital health investments as we already see 6 new telehealth unicorns in the first quarter.
Covid-19 shaped a new generation of healthcare consumers
Not only caused the pandemic increased adoption of digital health tools, it also led to a mindset shift among people towards empowered health consumers. The pandemic impressively demonstrated the value of health and thereby, encouraged people to become more invested in their own health. One study found that 65% of patients are more likely to consider health in their day-to-day decision making in response to the pandemic. However, people did not only get more concerned about their health day-to-day, but we believe this shows an “empowerment trend” for engagement. While most people had never engaged in self-testing before the pandemic, this aspect of Covid-19 did bring us closer to “DIY” healthcare approaches. A PWC study conducted in September 2020 found that 85% of patients were “very” or “somewhat likely” to engage in DIY care (e.g., flu test or remote monitoring). People’s increased desire for managing their own health is not only mirrored in their increasing commitment to more engaged forms of care, but also in both their increased engagement in digital health tracking and willingness to share personal health data.
These observations may show that the adoption of digital health in response to the Covid-19 pandemic brought us a huge step forward in ecosystem development, and it has begun to shape new ways for people to proactively manage their own health.
Digital health here to stay
The Covid-19 pandemic is a clear catalyst for digital health innovation with regards to financing and usage in terms of readiness to adopt digital health tools in everyday life. For this momentum to maintain post-pandemic, regulatory systems can play an active role and users combined with their respective experiences will continue shaping the marketplace. Sustainable and equitable adoption of digital health cannot be taken for granted. For this to happen, digital health innovators also have to connect the space between health literacy and access across demographics.
At Bayer G4A we are working together with companies developing digital health innovations that enable people across the globe to live healthier lives. This year we are looking for the right digital health companies to join us in tackling some of healthcare’s most pressing challenges. Find out more about this year’s challenges and how to apply to the G4A Partnerships Program here.