New research from Accenture shows that American consumers are getting more interested in on-demand healthcare. New mobile apps like Lemonaid and others allow individuals to get some basic health care questions answered online without having to set up expensive doctor visits. Those services are becoming so popular that they could represent a $1 billion market by 2017.
Accenture assessed the number of on-demand companies and investment funding from 2010 through September 2015. The analysis focused on early-stage, digital-first businesses that through connected devices offer closed-loop, human-delivered experiences to the consumer in near real time.
According to the data, since 2000, the top 230 on-demand companies have raised more than $12.5 billion, distributed across six main sectors: auto and transportation (76 percent); food and drink (10 percent); health (6 percent); household chores (3 percent); logistics (3 percent); and professional services (2 percent) from investors to offer services.
Excluding the transportation industry, healthcare is the fastest growing on-demand sector, representing one-fifth of total U.S. funding. The number of on-demand health companies has spiked from four in 2010, to 42 in 2014, with yearly investment growing at an annual rate of 224 percent over the same period. Funding for primary-care services alone has totaled more than $639 million since 2010. Within the same timeframe, on-demand specialty care, behavioral health, wellness and veterinary companies received a total of roughly $68 million in U.S. funding.
“Investment in on-demand healthcare and collaboration between industries will ultimately precipitate a shift away from a goods and services model to a ‘life care’ model, providing patients with personalized services that addresses a multitude of daily needs,” says said Kaveh Safavi, M.D., J.D., senior managing director for Accenture’s global health business.
These companies are also getting government support. Large payers are now reimbursing virtual doctor’s appointments, with government backing. As CivSource has previously reported, at the state level telehealth is now being reimbursed in more states as well. 29 states now have laws on the books that provide telehealth parity for a range of services.
Employers are also getting into the act by incentivizing wellness programs and in some cases working with trade associations to design custom insurance plans that include on-demand healthcare.
“With no end to this type of investment in sight, there’s an enormous opportunity for companies to offer fast, convenient and customized user-experiences that ultimately improve the patient experience and outcomes,” Safavi said.