By 2025, the digital health market is expected to reach a value of nearly $660 billion. There are particular trends in the space that continue to attract such mass investments to HealthTech, and are subsequently helping the industry to improve health equity across the globe. The following pioneering technologies: telehealth, wellness apps, augmented reality, and self-monitoring are four digital health trends of 2021 that are skyrocketing funding and making healthcare accessible and affordable for all.
4 Digital Health Trends:
Telehealth is the use of digital communication technologies, such as mobile phones, computers and tablets, to enable the delivery of healthcare services, and it is one of healthcare’s biggest transformation trends in 2021. With billions of people under lockdown over the past year due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the best way to access healthcare services fell into the virtual world.
In 2021, telehealth is becoming mainstream and widespread. Virtual care is positioning itself as the safe norm in more and more countries, and it’s even reaching more rural regions. Moving beyond 2021, telemedicine is set to become even more widespread in GP’s offices, hospitals, and clinics, improving access and efficiency of healthcare globally.
Employee Wellness Apps
As a fallout from the harsh reality of Covid-19 lockdowns in 2020, people around the world battled with untold mental health challenges. Suddenly, mindfulness apps like Calm, Headspace and Liberate weren’t for the niche meditation audience; and their mainstream adoption caused download numbers in the wellness app market to skyrocket.
In line with this global adoption, 2021 has seen employers increasingly acknowledge the benefits wellness apps can bring their employees. A recent report from SHRM, for example found that 48% of US employees would have more confidence in digital health tools if they were offered by their employer. 26% said if employers were offering such apps, they’d be more inclined to stay with their company for longer. This growing use of healthcare apps is significantly reducing overall health costs for providers and patients. In 2018, reports estimated health apps may save the US healthcare system $7 billion annually, making them incredibly valuable for physicians, patients, and services alike.
Virtual And Augmented Reality
Not so long ago, virtual and augmented reality seemed a novelty best suited to video games. Now, VR and AR technologies offer a huge scope of practical uses beyond entertainment and gaming. In healthcare, VR is helping with surgeries, allowing both surgeons and patients to be more comfortable with procedures.
VR tech is also being used by health professionals to treat a variety of conditions, including mental illnesses, such as anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder, and phobias. An Oxford VR reports that this style of immersive therapy can actually reduce phobias and fears by 68% after an average treatment time of just two hours. The healthcare VR market was just $2 billion in 2019, but a recent report from Verified Market Research predicts huge growth, with the market being expected to reach $34 billion by 2027.
Since the beginning of the pandemic, self-monitoring devices and sensors have skyrocketed. From smart watches to patch sensors, pulse oximeters and even online voice analyses, smart self-monitoring tools are providing consumers and patients with a growing number of useful and easy-to-use accessories.
The reason behind the growth of this market is largely the result of consumers who are using wearable technology products to track their health and fitness. Research by Pew Internet Research found that seven in ten US adults track at least one health indicator; with 60% tracking weight, diet or exercise, and 33% tracking health symptoms such as blood pressure, blood sugar, sleep patterns, headaches, and so on. It’s no surprise then that the wearable device market is anticipated to reach $265.4 billion by 2026.
Digital Health Trends In 2021 And Beyond
The technology behind telehealth, wellness apps, VR, and self-monitoring were around before 2020. But it took the pandemic to push digital healthcare forward, and for healthcare providers, institutions, and patients to fully appreciate the value of this disruptive technology.
Funding for the digital health market reached an all-time high of $26.5 billion in 2020; funding for telemedicine alone hit $4.3 billion, and six digital health companies raised over $6 billion on their IPOs. In 2021, we can expect many more companies to go public as these digital health trends offer new technologies focused on creating a better, healthier future for all.
Are you a digital health organisation looking to scale your team? If so, get in touch! Our mission is to be integral to the digital health revolution, connecting senior talent with HealthTechs around the world. Learn more about what we do and the HealthTech roles we work with here.