Emerging Business Models in Digital Health, Spring 2024, University of St.Gallen

Keynotes by Digital Health Companies & Investors

Zoom Link

  1. Mon, 4 March 2023, 4:15 pm, Dr. Robert Schreiber, HealthTech & FoodTech at HSG’s Chair for Entrepreneurship, More
  2. Mon, 11 March 2024, 4:15 pm, Dr. Benjamin Dodsworth, CSO and CTO at PIPRA AG, More
  3. Mon, 18 March 2024, 4:15 pm, Dr. Jan-Niklas Kramer, Innovation Manager & Director CSS Health Lab, CSS Insurance, More
  4. Mon, 25 March 2024, 4:15 pm, Julian Sutter, Physician and Co-Founder intonate. More
  5. Fri, 5 April 2024, 08:15 am, Prof. Dr. Lucas Spierer, Head of the Laboratory for Neurorehabilitation Science, Medicine Section, University & Hospital of Fribourg & Founder & CSO, Neuria Dtx, More
  6. Fri, 5 April 2024, 10:15 am, Abhishek Avasthi, Co-Founder & Product Manager (Pro-bono), Sawera Health Foundation, More
  7. Wed, 10 April 2024, 01:15 pm, Polina Veltmann, Co-founder & CEO smilamind, More
  8. Wed, 10 April 2024, 03:15 pm, Tim Leistner, Co-Founder ETER Health, More
  9. Thu. 11 April 2024, 4:00 pm, Benno Staub, Co-Founder Gossik, More

Digital therapeutics for mental health and addiction (Elsevier 2023), Digital therapeutics from bench to bedside (npj Digital Medicine, 2023), Economic Burden of Alzheimer’s Disease (Value in Health Regional Issues 2023), Reimbursement strategies to guide value‐based adoption and utilization of medical AI (npj Digital Medicine 2022), Paying for artificial intelligence in medicine (npj Digital Medicine 2022), Reimbursement of digital health solutions (Frontiers in Medical Technology, 2023)

  1. What are the business models behind the recent developments in digital health?
  2. Which are the top-funded digital health companies globally?
  3. What are the business models of these companies?
  4. Can these business models be applied to Switzerland?
  5. What must be changed to make them a success in Switzerland?

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 business models address these challenges. Digital health services rely on information and communication technologies (e.g., smartphones, wearables, digital biomarkers, conversational agents, voice assistants, and artificial intelligence) to prevent and treat 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.

After the course, students …

  1. know what a business model in digital health is
  2. can explain the elements of a business model in digital health
  3. understand specific aspects of business models in private/public health care systems
  4. can identify top‐funded companies providing digital health services
  5. can systematically assess the business models of companies providing digital health services

The following topics are covered in this lecture to reach the learning objectives:

  1. Introduction to business models in digital health
  2. Specifics of business models in digital health
  3. Identification of top‐funded digital health companies with PitchBook and Crunchbase
  4. Systematic assessment of the business models of digital health companies with the Business Model Navigator

Course Structure

The lecture is structured in two parts. In the first part, students will learn key aspects of business models in digital health. Complementary learning material (e.g., video clips), multiple‐choice questions, and exercises are provided online via Canvas.

In the second part, students work in teams and will systematically assess the business models of top‐funded companies that offer digital health services (e.g., with the help of financial data bases, such as PitchBook). Each team will then present and discuss the findings of the assessment with their fellow students. Additional coaching sessions and keynotes from the healthcare industry are offered to support the teams with the preparation of their presentations.

Course Literature

  1. Cohen, A. B., Dorsey, E. R., Mathews, S. C., Bates, D. W., & Safavi, K. (2020) A digital health industry cohort across the health continuum. Nature Digital Medicine, 3(68). 10.1038/s41746‐020‐0276‐9
  2. Essén, A., Stern, A. D., Haase, C. B., Car, J., Greaves, F., Paparova, D., Vandeput, S., Wehrens, R., & Bates, D. W. (2022) Health app policy: international comparison of nine countriesʹ approaches. npj Digital Medicine, 5(1), 31 10.1038/s41746‐022‐00573‐1
  3. Gassmann, O., Frankenberger, K., & Choudury, M. (2020) The Business Model Navigator Pearson Education: London, UK
  4. Grichnik, D., Hess, M., Probst, D., Antretter, T., & Pukall, B. (2020) Startup navigator: guiding your entrepreneurial journey Macmillan International Higher Education: London, UK
  5. Jacobson, N., Kowatsch, T., & Marsch, L. (Eds.). (2022) Digital Therapeutics for Mental Health and Addiction: The State of the Science and Vision for the Future (1st ed.) Elsevier, Academic Press: Cambridge, MA, USA
  6. Kowatsch, T., & Fleisch, E. (2021) Digital Health Interventions. In O. Gassmann & F. Ferrandina (Eds.), Connected Business: Create Value in a Networked Economy (pp. 71‐95). Springer International Publishing. 10.1007/978‐3‐030‐76897‐3_4
  7. Mathews, S. C., McShea, M. J., Hanley, C. L., Ravitz, A., Labrique, A. B., & Cohen, A. B. (2019) Digital health: a path to validation npj Digital Medicine, 2(1), 38. 10.1038/s41746‐019‐0111‐3
  8. Safavi, K., Mathews, S. C., Bates, D. W., Dorsey, E. R., & Cohen, A. B. (2019) Top‐Funded Digital Health Companies And Their Impact On High‐Burden, High‐Cost Conditions Health Affairs, 38(1), 115‐123 10.1377/hlthaff.2018.0508
  9. Venkatesh, K. P., Raza, M. M., Diao, J. A., & Kvedar, J. C. (2022). Leveraging reimbursement strategies to guide value‐based adoption and utilization of medical AI. npj Digital Medicine, 5(1), 112. 10.1038/s41746‐022‐00662‐1
  10. Wang, C., Lee, C., & Shin, H. (2023). Digital therapeutics from bench to bedside. npj Digital Medicine, 6(1), 38. 10.1038/s41746‐ 023‐00777‐z

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Emerging Business Models in Digital Health (12,805,1.00), University of St.Gallen, Spring 2024, 3 ECTS, Course Fact Sheet

Prof. Dr. Tobias Kowatsch
Prof. Dr. Tobias Kowatsch
Associate Professor for Digital Health Interventions, Institute for Implementation Science in Health Care, University of Zurich (UZH); Director, School of Medicine, University of St.Gallen (HSG), Scientific Director, Centre for Digital Health Interventions, UZH, HSG & ETH Zurich, Switzerland;

Lead Principal Investigator, Mobile Health Interventions, Singapore-ETH Centre, Singapore; Advisor, Center for Technology and Behavioral Health, Geisel School of Medicine, Dartmouth College, USA

Doctor of Philosophy in Management (Ph.D.), MSc in Business Informatics, MSc in Computer Science in Media (CSM) & Dipl.-Inform. (FH) in CSM.

Teaching Support
Panitda Huynh
Panitda Huynh
Ph.D. candidate, School of Medicine, University of St. Gallen, MSc in Neuroscience & Clinical Psychology, University of Basel