A new report out from Accenture claims that start-up funding for digital healthcare (telehealth, wearable technologies etc.) is expected to double in the United States over the next 3 years, growing from $3.5 billion in 2014 to $6.5 billion by the end of 2017. Analyzing the last 5-year period to make their projections, the researchers found start-up funding totaled $10.2 billion for digital health solutions and this growth was largely driven by evolving consumer expectations.
Growth in the space will come through four major segments – infrastructure capabilities, engagement solutions, treatment tools, and diagnosis technology. The view that the US healthcare system needs to be “fixed” is driving most of this growth, although little of it ever addresses the exorbitant cost to the US consumer directly. As CivSource has reported before, even the diminished health insurance costs for some consumers under the Affordable Care Act, essentially results in allowing the consumer to chop up sky-high payments on the front end, with no guarantees about the back-end or declines in spending over the long-term.
Of the four growth areas, infrastructure capabilities, such as interoperability and health analytics, account for an estimated $2.9 billion in start-up funding, which was used by organizations to comply with industry changes and federal Meaningful Use guidelines.
Engagement solutions, such as wearable technology and incentive programs targeting behavioral change among patients, received $2.6 billion in start-up funding.
Treatment tools, which enable alternative care channels by leveraging technology, such as telehealth, also received $2.6 billion in start-up funding.
Diagnosis technology captured $2.1 billion in start-up funding, representing a rapidly growing segment of clinical and consumer tools, such as remote monitoring, that provides practitioners with real-time insight.
The report concludes by pointing out that the US healthcare system will look different in the future, but only if providers align their business objectives and are willing to make more diverse partnerships with a variety of technology and patient care providers.