I am writing this article in June 2020 when the world is slowly getting used to the new, post-pandemic reality. No one can doubt that the current situation will change many aspects of our lives and many of them - for good, including healthcare.
But even before the COVID pandemic, the digital health market was growing rapidly. According to a 2019 industry forecast by Meticulous Research, the healthcare IT market is expected to grow at 13.8% CAGR (Compound Annual Growth Rate) between 2019 and 2027, to reach a value of $511 billion. We can expect that in the light of recent events these numbers will be even greater.
We have no doubts that digital health is the future of healthcare. With patients’ rising demand and technological advancement, it is a step forward that we are going to take sooner than later. Learn more: The future of healthcare is digital. 7 reasons why.
In the following article you will find information about:
- Remarkable digital health projects
- State of digital health and mobile/wearable market
- Digital health projects development
- Choosing a partner in eHealth projects
Digital healthcare is no longer a concept. It’s a change that is happening
The idea that patients get better treatment thanks to artificial intelligence, wearable medical devices or virtual reality tools isn’t new. Just like the fact that such solutions can streamline doctors’ workflows.
The COVID-19 pandemic has resolved doubts about healthcare digitalization, demonstrating that people actually need it. Today, national healthcare systems worldwide are undergoing a transformation, realizing that it is truly possible to provide medical care at a distance. However, it’s not only a state issue. To recognize that Gates Foundation offers a $5 million grant for digital health projects.
But many companies have known its potential for a long time. Before we dive into the eHealth apps development topic, let’s look into digital health solutions that were developed long before the pandemic.
Apple’s interest in digital health lies in wearable devices and therefore collecting real-time data. The company sees health as one of its key areas of growth, hiring dozens of doctors to incorporate more features into its products.
In fact, Apple grew wearable revenue 42% year-over-year in 2018 and has the potential to hit $15 billion in healthcare-related revenue by 2021.
Apple’s flagship digital health product is Apple Watch, which provides patients and doctors with real-time information about heart health. It checks for unusually high or low heart rates in the background, which could be signs of a serious underlying condition.
Recently, Apple and Johnson & Johnson have announced a new study called Heartline to find out if the Apple Watch can help reduce the risk of stroke and detect atrial fibrillation (AFib) early. In case you are wondering, AFib is the leading cause of stroke, but it can be difficult to diagnose because people often don’t exhibit symptoms.
It’s only fair I mention Google as well since obviously this Silicon Valley giant has digital health products in its portfolio too.
Digital health is not only about diagnosing and treatment. To a great extent, it is also about prevention and solutions that help you stay in shape. And exactly this niche was chosen by Google.
I’m talking about Google Fit - a health-tracking platform, which uses sensors in a user's activity tracker or mobile device to record physical fitness activities. But what’s unusual about it, it’s the fact Google Fit collaborated with the American Heart Association to develop Heart Points, an activity goal based on their activity recommendations shown to impact health. You earn one Heart Point for each minute of moderately intense activity.
Samsung followed a similar path to Google. Samsung Health is a free application developed by Samsung that serves to track various aspects of daily life contributing to well being such as physical activity, diet, and sleep.
It also has some advanced features that allow you to measure water consumption, caffeine consumption, blood sugar, and even stress level.
Digital health today
In 2019 I read an article which said that Apple could reach a $313 billion in healthcare-related revenue by 2027 and then the author minutely explained why it wouldn’t. I am sorry to say this, dear author, but you were probably wrong.
Today, more than ever, people are ready for digital health solutions. And what is more, as the COVID-19 pandemic has clearly demonstrated, they need it.
Already 7 out of 10 Google’s searches are related to medical issues. Their inquiries refer to three main areas:
- 47% of people research doctors.
- 38% research hospital and medical facilities.
- 77% do online research to book medical appointments.
But it’s not only the patients’ perspective. More than 87% of physicians said they see a great advantage in integrating digital health tools in health systems, as they boost care and reduces provider stress.
For obvious reasons, recently the solutions that give remote access to medical assistance have become extremely popular. Yet, there is much more to digital health.
Digital = mobile and wearables
Everyone wants to be healthy and up-to-date with his/her physical condition. In an ideal world, it can be done without visiting a doctor every month or wearing uncomfortable devices. And to some extent, nowadays it can.
Today, we hear the word “mobile” everywhere. It has gained popularity when smartphones have become an important part of our lives. You don’t think they are? Just think about all the things you use it for. Today, smartphones are used by 2.7 billion people worldwide. And they are the main reason we have got used to the mobile way of life.
And that is where digital health meets our lifestyle and matches it perfectly.
The vast share of digital health projects implies the usage of smartphones or smartwatches, which are constantly with us. However, their mobility is not the only thing that works to their advantage. The most important thing is that they are the source of up-to-date data, which is delivered in real-time.
We are no longer talking about health apps, but wearable technology in general. In fact, according to a recent report, the wearable medical device market is expected to reach more than $27 million by 2023, which is a spectacular jump from almost $8 million in 2017.
Wearable technology in digital health - examples
10 years ago patients were happy with undergoing a physical examination once a year. If something was wrong, they would check it with the doctor and proceed according to instructions. If they were fine, they would forget about health and wait a year for the next medical appointment.
Today, patients are focusing on prevention and demanding information about their health more frequently - sometimes even on a daily basis. And technology is here to give them such possibility.
Here I would like to mention BitBite, a revolutionary wearable device meant to track, analyze and change the way you eat. It is a discrete ear clip equipped with a microphone and sensors that records, analyzes and reports your eating habits.
Another example: Elvie Pump, which, I am proud to say, is one of Untitled Kingdom’s partners. It is the world's first silent wearable breast pump, which is designed to be worn in a standard nursing bra, making it truly hands-free. This enables women to pump during a conference call, playing with kids, cooking, or simply enjoying some peace and quiet at the home.
Digital health applications development
You probably realize that digital health is not a new concept. And although we don’t have any very recent data yet, we know perfectly well that due to the pandemic it is going to influence our lives on a bigger scale than it was expected just half a year ago.
There is no doubt that very soon more companies will start to develop digital health projects. Moreover, many new businesses that want to revolutionize the healthcare market will be created.
Maybe you are a part of one of them? Let me tell you a few very important things about digital project development.
Wining over digital health market with a software company
In very simple terms, traditional medicine is a relationship between a patient and a doctor.
In digital health, there is one layer more - the technological sphere. It plays a very significant role, being the connector between medicine and a patient. Because sometimes there is no doctor at all. What’s more, when we talk about digital health solutions, the doctor’s role is often limited to the consultations at the stage of project development.
That is exactly why the flawless development of a digital health solution is the only option.
Yes, creating a digital health app is a challenge. There are 4 areas that are extremely important:
- Security. You are working with very sensitive data concerning users’ health, so make sure it’s safe.
- Regulations. When you introduce products or services that deal with digital health, you are subject to the regulations that apply to your market. The app must be aligned with FDA, HIPPA, MDR or other, depending on your country.
- User-centric approach. In the case of digital health applications, the functionality and ease of use are extremely important. Focus on users’ needs, don’t overwhelm her/him with a countless number of steps or useless features. Consult specialists in your field of medicine to get professional advice.
- Testing. Once again, we expect digital health applications to work flawlessly. Do not save on testing the performance of the application.
To secure it all you need a great dose of knowledge, experience, and skills from different fields. It is impossible to find them in one or two people. Such an undertaking requires a team of professionals and experts in order to succeed.
And it’s not only a safe move to cooperate in a software company in such a case. It’s also way more profitable.
Your partner in digital health
To secure all conditions mentioned above you need a great dose of knowledge, experience, and skills from different fields. It is impossible to find them in one or two people. Such an undertaking requires a team of professionals and experts in order to succeed.
You need to make sure that your partner develops applications compatible with HIPPA, FDA or MDR regulations. The software company you will choose should discuss every step with you and verify absolutely every assumption. All this to ensure the best user experience. And if they tell you that testing is the key to success, you know you have just found a partner in digital health.
The whole process of development should be transparent and convenient for each side.
Yet, when working with a software company, all you need to develop an amazing app is an idea and engagement. A digital product studio should take care of:
- web & mobile app development for medical devices
- tech & product consultancy
- UI & UX design
- software & hardware prototyping
And it’s not only a safe move to cooperate in a software company in such a case. It’s also way more profitable.
At Untitled Kingdom we have experience with working on several digital health projects, including Elvie Pump, Elvie Trainer, and MysteryVibe. 12 years of developing applications that change people’s lives has allowed us to create a process that brings to life successful digital solutions.
Digital health is on the rise. Those who saw its potential long before the pandemic, can set an example for companies that in the light of recent changes are rolling up their sleeves to revolutionize the face of healthcare. Because yes, there is still plenty of space for new players.
Two steps are now ahead of you. One is to come up with an idea that has the potential to make people’s lives better, and the second is to choose a reliable partner.