Health Tech in America: Bridging Access Gaps
Anyone who has experienced the U.S. healthcare system knows that receiving care can be challenging. Emergency rooms are often packed, wait times in the doctor’s office can be lengthy, and dealing with health insurance claims is often complicated and time-consuming. The COVID-19 pandemic exacerbated these issues, but it also highlighted the benefits of new digital health technologies, especially telehealth and remote patient monitoring.
The tech industry is helping address barriers to digital health solutions by developing devices, software and data platforms designed to improve outcomes. And the market opportunity is large, and growing rapidly: According to Statista, the global market for digital health will reach $500 billion in 2025, up 79% over 2021.
CTA monitors advancements in digital health for the Nasdaq CTA Global Digital Health IndexTM (BEWELLTM) to identify the companies, products and trends affecting healthcare in the coming years. CTA’s recent study, Driving Consumer Adoption of Digital Health Solutions, shows a growing interest in digital health technologies among consumers, healthcare professionals and industry stakeholders. The research reveals drivers that are building momentum for digital health technologies and the barriers that companies and providers must navigate to ensure adoption.
Here are some findings from the study:
Consumers Are Using Digital Tech, Interested in More
CTA’s study revealed that blood pressure monitors, glucose meters and weight monitoring devices are currently among the most used digital health devices. Pulse oximeters, sleep monitors and online counseling/therapy platforms are also seeing moderate use. Consumers who use digital health tech cite various reasons for using it, with 73% indicating that it helps them feel more in control of their health, while 67% say that it helps motivate them to set health goals. Most consumers (70%) say they are likely to use one or more digital health solutions in the future to improve their overall health or wellbeing.
Meanwhile, 59% of consumers say they have used telehealth services, of which 80% say they are satisfied with the experience. This alone is one of the largest opportunities within digital health; Grand View Research expects the market for telehealth to grow to $787 billion by 2028, riding the wave of increased smartphone adoption and connectivity worldwide. Furthermore, policymakers are acting to make telehealth a greater feature of healthcare, realizing its utility in increasing access to care.
Healthcare Professionals Are Optimistic About Digital Health
Nearly three in five healthcare professionals (58%) believe that digital health helps alleviate the burden on the U.S. healthcare system. These professionals say that digital health can improve time management during consultations and can inhibit unnecessary visits to the doctor’s office. They also note that digital health solutions help providers better understand patients’ lifestyle habits and complaints.
However, only 44% of healthcare providers believe that digital health is living up to its full potential, revealing that there is room for digital health companies to improve the lives of patients and healthcare professionals by addressing pain points in the ecosystem. Specifically, digital health solutions need to easily integrate into electronic health record (EHR) systems and must be easy to incorporate into existing workflows.
Healthcare professionals say that additional clinical evidence and increased patient reimbursement by insurers will encourage uptake of digital health tech. This is particularly evident in the emerging market for digital therapeutics, which includes software and mobile apps (sometimes used in conjunction with a device), prescribed by a physician, that help people treat, manage and prevent diseases and medical disorders. Companies in this field are highly focused on proving the value of their products with clinical evidence, providing a strong case for insurer and provider adoption. CTA estimates the U.S. market for digital therapeutics is $250 million, with a projected compound annual growth rate of more than 20% through 2027.
What Is Fueling Digital Health Adoption?
The study highlights objectives impacting interest in, and demand for, these technologies among practitioners and industry businesses:
- Helping consumers understand the benefits – How does the product or service go above and beyond what they are already using, and how will it help them manage their condition? Education is key.
- Incentivizing loyalty to drive long-term use of devices and tech – Digital health innovators are borrowing from lessons learned in gamification over the past decade to ensure patients adhere to a therapeutic regimen. These concepts are already central to many digital therapeutics apps.
- Focusing on end-to-end customer experience – Companies in this space excel not only at building a user-friendly device or service experience, but at accounting for ways that healthcare professionals and insurers will shape the end-user’s experience.
- Engaging healthcare professionals and other stakeholders throughout the lifecycle of digital health tech development – As with the development of any product, digital health innovators are collecting input and feedback from all parties involved to ensure they are delivering results that adequately address the ailment.
It is an opportune time for digital health. People are becoming more familiar with using digital solutions to track their health, and they are increasingly expecting to interface with the health systems and practitioners through digital means. CTA’s Digital Health team and Health Division are focused on advocacy for access to digital health tools and are developing standards that support the industry. See the future of digital health at CES 2024.