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Digital Health Market to Hit $230B by 2030

February 06, 20246 min read

Back in 1982, John Naisbitt famously brought forward the phrase, "high tech, high touch" in his bestseller Megatrends. Perhaps not so coincidentally, around that same time, IBM introduced the PC, and a couple of years later Steve Jobs introduced the MacIntosh. The internet was nowhere on the cultural radar.

Fast forward to 2024. In late January, I attended Looking Ahead: 2024 Healthcare Trends and the Rise of Personalized Care. The CEO of Validic, Drew Schiller, hosted a lively discussion with Leah Briggs, the Executive Director of Product for ActiveHealth, and Peter Rasmussen MD, the Chief Clinical Officer for The Clinic by Cleveland Clinic. In many ways it felt like old home week.

I got my first Fitbit back in the late 2000s, when I was Chief Solutions Officer at Viverae. We were, I think, Validic's first "wellness company" client, and we were quite keen on integrating FitBit tracking data into our health management platform.

Personalization, relevancy and convenience
There wasn’t much of a digital health market way back in those days, but by 2022 it was valued at $77 Billion, with a projected 17.1% CAGR (compound annual growth rate) through 2030 - to over $230B! This growth is being fueled by the adoption of digital healthcare platforms, including remote patient monitoring and telehealth, which were accelerated due to the COVID-19 pandemic. These platforms have reduced the need for in-person consultations, even as healthcare demand grows because of the aging U.S. population, increasing chronic condition prevalence, and rising investments and government initiatives towards digital healthcare. Telehealth dominates the market due to its widespread adoption for providing remote care​.

Think about this: as of 2018, nearly 90% of American adults were using at least one digital health tool, such as apps or wearable devices, to monitor their health. Whether tracking physical activity and weight loss, monitoring sleep, or stress, or using telehealth, the majority of users said they were willing to share their health data with physicians.

Rock Health notes that device ownership is particularly high among younger respondents with higher income and educational attainment. Even among older, lower-income, and lower-educational attainment respondents, ownership reached an all-time high in 2022. But usage varies widely with overall health status: those in excellent health are more likely to own a device. So, clinical use has not fully caught up, especially in direct-to-consumer contexts​.

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Enter AI
The integration of AI-based health management with data from clinical and lifestyle devices presents transformative potential for the healthcare industry. These technologies can analyze vast amounts of data from wearable devices, EHRs (electronic health records), and other digital health tools to identify patterns, predict health outcomes, and recommend preventive measures. This approach aims to intervene early, with a direct goal of preventing high-cost episodes like hospital admissions or emergency department visits.

The cost-saving potential for group health plans is clear, even if the path to realization isn't. We still need much more - and more consistent - preventive care, better and more widespread use of personalized clinical and lifestyle care plans, and significantly better engagement. Not to mention the privacy, security, and permission barriers, plus the regulatory and ethical considerations. But we’re getting there.

Parsing wearables data with AI
For generalized use cases, Teladoc has expanded its capabilities to include AI-driven insights and analytics for preventive health management, offering solutions that integrate data from wearables and other health monitoring devices. For cardiology, AliveCor's KardiaMobile device pairs with a smartphone app to provide EKG analysis using AI. This technology enables early detection of atrial fibrillation and other heart conditions. And Fitbit, part of Google for three years now, has ventured into health management with Fitbit Health Solutions, which offers a platform for corporate wellness programs. It uses data analytics and AI to provide personalized health insights and recommendations.

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Aggregating, cleansing and standardizing the data
Now integrated with over 540 home health, clinical, and lifestyle devices, Validic is even supporting EHR-deployed programs for populations small and large. They're not alone; other players on this path include Kyruus, Human API, and Redox.

The table stakes now are clean, validated, and standardized API data “pipes”, real-time API-based health monitoring, and AI-driven, personalized care plans.

The ability of intelligent, semi-autonomous large language models to synthesize all of the data and to validate the care plans against the vast body of human clinical and lifestyle knowledge - and to do so in conversational, lay-friendly terms - is emerging as a jaw-dropping game-changer.

Reducing medical errors
Go ahead, search for anything clinical on NIH / NLM / PubMed - and parse that into layman's terms - we mere mortals simply can't! But AI can, and it's just going to get better. Imagine having the expertise of all the top clinicians - globally! - for any specific diagnosis that may be at hand. And to nigh-on guarantee that any drugs prescribed won't interact with any others - or with the supplements the patient is taking, with that data having been ingested from shopping records.

Accelerating strategic improvements
We're literally experiencing an exponentially-expanding ability to tap into real-time, data-informed, and AI + human-validated accelerants for diagnosis, for care, and for monitoring compliance with the best approaches to treatment and healing that have ever been available.

Think about what this will mean for early detection, intervention, enhanced employee engagement, faster plan "tweaks" and - ultimately - for cost reductions, faster return-to-work, and validated ROI.

These integrations are already becoming critical tools for employers, consultants, and vendors to collaborate for enhancing employee / patient / human health - and care management strategies - through the increasingly-wise use of digital health data.

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Orienting it all on the employee-patient-consumer's values
Our core values have typically become set by the time we’re in our late teens to early 20s. Then, those values begin to express via our propensity towards certain behaviors, which are in turn linked to what motivates us.

If I know you generally don’t want to be told what to do, then instead of saying “you need to get this screening done,” I might ask “did you know you might be overdue for this screening?”

If I know you tend to put your family ahead of your own health needs, I might say, “I know you prioritize being there for those who count on you; this screening will help make sure you can be.”

The last word
By presenting all of the intelligently-developed recommendations using the words a person actually wants to hear, and that they more quickly understand, and that motivate them to embrace and act upon our lifestyle and clinical "asks," we can also break through our engagement upper limit problem. And one-size-fits-all communications always hit an upper limit problem. Personalizing our benefit guidance and healthcare messages is not only a nice touch, it’s absolutely necessary if we're going to deliver high tech and high touch.

~ Mark Head
© 2024. All Rights Reserved.

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Mark Head

President

With 4 decades of combined experience in employee benefits consulting, wellness and health management, Head brings a unique combination of dynamic perspectives into a clear vision of where the future of health care is moving - and it's moving towards deeper human connection, awareness, and engagement...

Contact Information

mark.head@benefitpersonas.com

(214) 455-3706

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