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January 17, 2023

Digital Health 2022: Highlights

Commentary
Sarah Ann Kikkers
&

After a booming few years of growth in digital health, things returned to a normal cadence in 2022, with fewer investments occurring across the landscape. Yet not all was quiet either: big tech firmly set its sights on digital health and made some big moves, the femtech market continued to grow and Europe launched its first-ever digital health action plan. 

Much remains to be fixed in healthcare; no doubt we’ll see old and new players build on that momentum this year. In this blog, we recap the most notable developments in 2022.


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Big tech is focused on healthcare

First attempts by tech giants to disrupt this industry may have failed but this did not stop these companies from making significant progress over the last year in the industry. Amazon launched its virtual clinic alongside its healthlake imaging and analytics offerings at HLTH, its acquisition of One Medical is also certainly one to watch. Meanwhile, Google acquired Sound Life Sciences, to further expand its digital sleep monitoring offerings.

Most interestingly, it was predicted that Apple will enter the U.S. health insurance market in 2024 which could give Apple a competitive advantage with an opportunity to approach healthcare with a more service-based revenue model, as well as increased interoperability between stakeholders and improved access to healthcare data.

We expect to see further activity by these tech giants in the healthcare industry this year. 

Digital health funding environment cooled down

It’s no secret that the market is shifting, Q3 2022 saw the lowest funding for digital health for the first time in 11 quarters. Interestingly, in tandem with this reduced funding, numerous digital health companies have been laying off their workforces. To balance the market, digital health companies will have to aid VCs in de-risking their investments: companies will need to focus on having a strong business model, proven ROI, and a clinically validated solution.

The women’s health market gained momentum 

The femtech market has gained significant traction over the last year and we saw an expansion into new therapeutic indications. Menopause, a typically underserved women’s condition, was a focus point with providers, pharma, and digital health companies entering this field. Mayo Clinic partnered with Lisa Health to create an artificial intelligence based app to support perimenopausal and menopausal women, while Astellas pharma announced they would be launching a new digital health solution for menopausal women. Gennev, a menopause virtual care platform, was acquired by Unified Women’s Healthcare, allowing Unified to provide essential care across its 2,500 affiliated women’s healthcare providers across the U.S.

The European regulation and reimbursement landscape continued to evolve

Last year, France launched their digital health scale-up 2025 program which includes a new fast-track pathway (Prise en Charge Transitoire “PECT”) offering a transitional and temporary one-year reimbursement access pathway for DTx or telemonitoring solutions. 2022 saw Europe’s first ever digital health action plan released, which will act as guidance for policymakers to address barriers to digital health adoption in their respective countries. The plan highlights Europe's commitment to digital health acceleration and may help standardise the fragmented reimbursement landscape in Europe. 

Healthcare entered the Metaverse

In 2022, the hype around the Metaverse grew. We saw more companies in the industry establishing their place in this virtual world. XRHealth, an augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) telehealth platform, raised $10 Million to support the expansion of virtual treatment in the Metaverse. We also saw CVS make moves into this space, filing a trademark that would allow it to sell goods and services in the Metaverse.


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