Digital Aided Revolution in Healthcare
We are witnessing a revolution in the way healthcare is being provided, with providers, insurers and governments on one side, and consumers on the other side. Some in the digital health field may believe that new digital health technologies are driving this revolution, but, in fact, the credit goes to market and demographic forces, with technologies simply enabling those changes. This revolution is a necessary result of the growing pressures on healthcare systems and consumers.
Technology for technology’s sake is not what healthcare systems want or need—those systems need and want technologies that can help achieve crucial objectives of providing high quality care to more people at lower cost, often with fewer resources. Consumers may want technologies that can help them address healthcare needs, but they won’t pay for them or continue to use them (even if free) unless they are convenient and deliver real value to them.
Market and demographic forces driving changes in the US healthcare system include aging populations (with increased life expectancies), increasing prevalence of certain chronic diseases and conditions, more insured patients (in the US), increasing insurance premiums and co-pays, hospital overcapacity, doctor and nurse shortages and the “consumerization” of healthcare where consumers want to take greater control over their own healthcare.
The maelstrom of market and demographic forces has made it clear to healthcare providers, insurers, and governments that the “old ways” won’t work anymore. With this growing recognition of the healthcare crisis we face, a willingness and even eagerness to try new approaches to address the challenges has become evident over the past few years. This includes a willingness to adopt new digital technologies, including:
- Technologies which help manage resources and people more efficiently: doing more with less is the new mantra of healthcare providers, and where technology can address a significant, ongoing challenge of resource management, adoption is more likely to occur.
- Technologies that help keep patients out of the hospital. This includes tools that help providers analyze increasing amounts of data and enable better decision-making, as well as consumer-facing tools that empower individuals to avoid unnecessary doctor or hospital visits, live independently, and manage their own or their family’s healthcare at home to the greatest extent possible.
- Technologies that measurably help consumers achieve critical health-related goals to which they are committed. Improved adherence to evidence-based protocols, procedures, and prescribed treatment are important to all stakeholders including providers, consumers, insurers, pharma companies and pharmacies.
- Technologies that improve the security of patient/consumer health information. 65% of consumers say that data security is more important than convenient access to health information, and this will be a key factor to more widespread adoption of digital health tools.
LionBird I investments in Kit Check, Tyto, PhysIQ, Telesofia, Sweetch and Ovuline illustrate our interest in young companies that are turning such technologies to meaningful products and services already used by hospital systems, healthcare consumers and payers.