Q1 2022 Digital Health Funding Reaches $6B Across 183 Deals (Rock Health, 2022), The promise of the metaverse in cardiovascular health (European Heart Journal, 2022), Can Virtual Reality Help Ease Chronic Pain? (The New York Times Magazine, 2022), First of its Kind Alexa Experience Provides Hands‐Free Access at Home to General Medical Care (GlobeNewswire, 2022), Can digital technologies improve health? (The Lancet, 2021), Predictive analytics and tailored interventions improve clinical outcomes (npj Digital Medicine, 2021)
What are the business models behind the recent developments in the field of digital health?
In the 20th century, healthcare systems specialized in acute care. In the 21st century, we now face the challenge of dealing with the specific characteristics of non‐communicable diseases (NCDs), including common mental disorders. NCDs are responsible for around 70% of all deaths worldwide and 85% of all deaths in Europe and are associated with an estimated economic loss of $7 trillion between 2011 and 2025. Chronic and mental diseases are characterized in particular by the fact that they require an intervention paradigm that focuses on prevention and lifestyle change. Lifestyle (e.g., diet, physical activity, tobacco, or alcohol consumption) can reduce the risk of suffering from a chronic condition or, if already present, its burden. A corresponding change in lifestyle is, however, only implemented by a fraction of those affected, partly because of missing or inadequate interventions or health literacy and partly due to socio‐cultural influences. Individual personal coaching of these individuals is neither scalable nor financially sustainable.
To this end, the question arises of how the business models of companies look like that offer digital health services that address these challenges. Digital health services rely on information and communication technologies (e.g., smartphones, wearables, digital biomarkers, conversational agents, voice assistants, artificial intelligence) for the prevention and treatment of diseases in our everyday lives. They also allow medical doctors and other caregivers to scale and tailor long‐term treatments to individuals in need. At the intersection of health economics, behavioral medicine, business informatics, and computer science, this lecture aims to help students and upcoming healthcare executives interested in the multi‐disciplinary field of digital health to understand better business models of top‐funded companies that offer digital health services.
The following topics are covered in this lecture to reach the learning objectives:
- Introduction to business models in digital health
- Specifics of business models in digital health
- Identification of top‐funded digital health companies
- Systematic assessment of the business models of digital health companies