May 10, 2019

Lifting the lid on 2019 Digital Health Investments so far

Commentary
Sophie Madden
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At the beginning of 2019, we released our 2019 predictions blog based on everything we had read and heard from our members, advisors, friends at start-ups, and investors, coupled with data from the HealthXL platform.

In this weeks blog, we are going to do a roundup of some notable investments that have occurred so far in 2019, assessing the types of companies that are catching the interest of investors, and explore if these correlate to our previous predictions, if there are any new trends to add to your radar, and if trends are deceptive in what they convey about importance.


2019 Predictions

Here's a quick overview of our predictions for 2019:


2019 Investments - Where is the money going?

Looking first to our prediction around the application of artificial intelligence (AI) in healthcare, so far in 2019 we have seen a particular interest from investors in companies that leverage AI and machine learning to improve clinical performance.







On the back of the digital therapeutics rise to fame in 2018, it is no surprise to see that investors are still interested in this space.




As we predicted, interest in digital therapeutics is now turning to the question of how to get the technology into the hands of patients and physicians. Ultimately, where the prescription environment will go is towards more standardised recommendations through prescription platforms and evolving reimbursement codes.



  


Health insurance is joining the modern healthcare movement, with incumbents and newcomers leveraging technology to augment their offerings. As we predicted, health insurance is getting more digital, and investors are noticing the opportunity these solutions present to help personalise health plans, allow smart triage of queries, augment consumer engagement and retention, and improve consistency of claims and transparency.




As predicted, the competition for primary care is continuing to grow, and there is a big push towards making care more affordable and accessible. There have been some big investments in this space in 2019, and we suspect the trend will continue.





While telemedicine is one of the biggest opportunities for improving access to primary care, we are also seeing new models of care becoming popular and raising capital, with a number of primary care disruptors emerging who engage with employers, insurers, and health systems to provide their own practices enabled by a suite of technology solutions.





Clinical trial optimisation is a key priority for pharmaceutical companies. Investors have taken note and funded a wide range of solutions in recent years, from technology to enhance recruitment and retention for clinical trials, to AI and big data to find diverse sets of patients most suited for clinical trials, and remote patient monitoring and medication adherence tools to drive retention.




Other notable activity occurring so far this year include a number of investments in the direct to consumer space, with investors taking note of the continued success of companies like 23andMe, who are benefiting from the growing interest and engagement from consumers around their own health.




What next?

Where capital is being deployed is generally a good indicator of a promising area within the market, however we also need to look at other factors like partnerships, commercial traction, and whether or not these investments are being matched by sufficient evidence of the solutions ability to deliver improved healthcare outcomes, to truly understand what areas of digital health will have the biggest impact. Companies that wisely use their investment to build a solid evidence base to support their claims, and not just on growth and marketing of promises, will emerge as winners in gaining traction, and getting into tangible partnerships with incumbents, among other things.

In our Q2 Report, Digital Health Evidence Review 2019, we are aiming to identify, categorize, and summarise all existing, relevant studies in digital health. Through this report, we want to establish a clear understanding of the existing body of clinical evidence for digital health, its maturity, current gaps and needs.

Do you have specific questions on clinical validation for DH? Reach out to us - we'd love to get your ideas and answer your pain points.




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