Digital Health: The Opportunities, the Challenges and the Emerging Global Ecosystem of Connected Devices

The wearable heart monitor that helps a heart-bypass patient send continuous vital sign reports back to his doctor after surgery.

Smart Pills with sensors the size of a grain of sand that can send out or a caregiver a text message when a dose is missed.

A tele-health platform that allows elderly patients to have face-to-face appointments with their physician without dealing with the challenges of distance or travel.

The portal that enables a person to wirelessly send their test results to an app on their phone and to a portal that shares results with their doctor – who can make therapy adjustments remotely.

Such innovations in medicine would have been hard to imagine even just a decade ago. But as the developments of cloud capabilities, device inter-operability and data informatics have converged with the health care and life sciences industry, Digital Health has emerged as the future of health care.
The influence of technology and innovation in the industry has been significant and is poised for a period of unprecedented growth. According to recent figures from the Deloitte Center for Health Solutions’ report, “mHealth in a mWorld”  says the market will rise from $1.2 billion in 2011 to $11.7 billion by 2018, at a compound annual growth rate of 39 percent.

Technology is Shaping the Future

The Digital Health revolution that is taking place due in large part to worldwide access to technology, the proliferation of mobile devices and increased use of the Internet every day. We are moving from a point-of-care to a take anywhere health process through mobile devices, apps and dynamic web portals that help people.
Healthcare is one of the last industries that have not been fully transformed by technology…until now. The growth of digital is global, exponential and permanent and it is inevitable that with this unprecedented amount of access, people will use this technology to track and better manage their health.

Economic Forces are Shaping the Future

It is more than just technology that is driving the growth of Digital Health. Economic forces, as we all know, are forcing governments everywhere to find new, more efficient ways to deliver healthcare.
So what does this mean for diagnostics companies? It typically represents an evolution to core business of developing medical devices and it can also mean unprecedented opportunity. This change will not always be easy but smart organizations are positioning themselves to complementary services and solutions to meet the evolving needs of the markets, patients and health care professionals. This will create new opportunities for businesses and enable business models that are not yet clearly known. Diagnostic companies must be able to embrace this change and continue to deliver innovative products in 2014 and beyond that complement core offerings.

Pharmaceutical and diagnostics companies should be embracing this digital health revolution through ongoing strategy and roadmap development, active participation in industry consortiums, building open partnership models and actively working towards solutions to positively impact the ongoing diagnosis and care for health conditions. 

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