The digital health ​market scam

  • igital health global venture capital broke records again in 2018 with 698 deals raising a total of $9.5bn.
  •  Funding for the digital health sector continues to rise, at a 32% increase year-over-year – a pace that will be difficult to maintain this funding pace going into 2019 unless there is “a clear exit path for investors,”.
  • In the United States, digital health companies raised close to $7 billion in 2018 with the remaining $2.5 billion coming out of other countries.
  • Most doctors say they have not recommended any general health and wellness apps or wearables to their patients. (Source: Kantar)
  • For medical-grade devices, the results are similar, with 70% of doctors saying they have not recommended medical-grade web-connected devices to their patients. (Source: Kantar).
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Surely there are better uses of Medicare dollars than Apple watches

  • Apple has been in talks with at least three private Medicare plans about subsidizing the Apple Watch for people over 65 to use as a health tracker.
  • Insurers are exploring ways to subsidize the cost of the device for those who can’t afford the $279 price tag.
  • It’s the segment of health insurance with the highest dollar revenue and margin per member
  • But can seniors really understand how to use the watch with updates?
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TeleHealth bust or the future?

  • 82 percent of U.S. consumers do not use telehealth.
  • In 2016, researchers posing as patients turned to 16 different telemedicine apps to diagnose skin issues. The results? Some of the online doctors misdiagnosed conditions like syphilis, others prescribed unnecessary meds, and two of the sites used doctors who aren’t licensed to practice in the state the patient was located.
  • Even in the digital age, a lot of people simply want to see their doctor in person. They’re not Luddites. But sick, vulnerable people often need in-person reassurance from another human being in the room. A smartphone app simply won’t cut it.
  • Still telehealth is going to find a niche.

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mHealth: The next Theranos?

  • The Journal of Medical Internet Research says “Although mHealth is growing in popularity, the evidence for efficacy is still limited,” wrote the study’s corresponding author, David Novillo-Ortiz, MLIS, MSc, PhD.
  • “More than 100,000 (health) applications are now available in the leading app stores, and the assortment is constantly growing,” says a BAEK study that was discussed at the congress. “But only a fraction of the programs are certified as medical products.”
  • John Torous, MD, a researcher and psychiatry resident at Harvard University, said “We have little evidence about the risks or benefits of smartphone use in clinical care,”
  • “The problem with these apps is they’re so new and novel; it’s probably going to be hard establishing a standard of care, or what a reasonable doctor would, and would not do when using these products,” says Nathan Cortez, a professor and associate dean for research at SMU Dedman School of Law.

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Although mHealth is growing in popularity, the evidence for efficacy is still limited

KEY TAKEAWAY: It’s easy to understand why health systems are so interested in mHealth. Smartphones have been creeping into every facet of modern life for more than a decade, providing unprecedented access to huge patient populations. “More than 100,000 (health) applications are now available in the leading app stores, and the assortment is constantly growing, but 65% are health and fitness apps. Continue reading

How can pharma leverage apps?

KEY TAKEAWAY: According to Comscore “within the US, [inlinetweet prefix=”” tweeter=”” suffix=””]apps were responsible for 88% of mobile consumption in December[/inlinetweet]. That compares with 87% in June, according to prior ComScore data, with app usage at that time relatively equal on smartphones (88%) and tablets (87%). Can pharma companies really leverage apps for business objectives?  Continue reading