Indicators for Digital Health

Rock Health released its most recent funding report this week. Lt. Dan summarized it well here. The main take home message from the report and from the blog post announcing it is that digital health funding continues to grow year after year, with growth in the first half of 2014 outpacing what most — including Rock Health — expected.

Indicators for Digital Health

This is very much in line with what others have been saying and writing, including those outside of health tech like Mary Meeker, who found close to 10 percent of VC funding going into digital health, and Fred Wilson, who is predicting healthcare is at an inflection point.

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Telecharting, the New Telemedicine Frontier

Most people tend to think of telemedicine as remote or virtual care for patients, such as:

Telecharting, the New Telemedicine Frontier
  • One-on-one video services and consultations by AmericanWell and Teledoc between doctor and patient
  • Video services where remote specialists consult, including teleICU
  • Telephone-based consultation for follow-up between providers and patients.

Some people lump in virtual medical education as well, with examples like Project ECHO. I also think of services like Zipnosis and GoDerma, which offer virtual care asynchronously.

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News 6/13/14

The American Medical Association approved a set of guiding principles for telemedicine this week. AMA President Robert Wah, MD said, "This new policy establishes a foundation for physicians to utilize telemedicine to help maintain an ongoing relationship with their patients, and as a means to enhance follow-up care, better coordinate care, and manage chronic conditions." This is similar to recent recommendations from the American Telemedicine Association, which promotes telemedicine for use in existing provider-patient relationships. That’s a powerful and smart use of telemedicine, but more acute care delivery and services for new patients are headed this direction. Retail pharmacies are pushing to provide convenient access to care through new patient-provider interactions and it makes sense to leverage telemedicine in the same way. The AMA also urged standardization of state rules, which is again in line with ATA’s recommendations.

News 6/13/14

The push into healthcare by Apple and Samsung has spurred a lot of commentary and attention. Another tech giant is apparently gearing up to announce its interest in helping consumers aggregate their health data – Google, which is rumored to be planning an announcement of Google Fit. That would be a return to health by Google after the company dropped its failed PHR in 2011. This is a better time and Google Fit would be a smarter service than the digital health file cabinet that was Google Health. Aggregating on mobile will be the key to success, so I’m curious how Samsung and Google will work together on Samsung hardware running Android OS.

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Will HealthKit and Samsung Empower Patients?

Apple and Samsung are jumping into digital health. Apple is getting the bulk of the press, but Samsung has impressive market share both in the US and globally. It has beaten Apple to market in other aspects of digital health, such as the wearables space, although getting to market before Apple doesn’t always mean beating Apple in the long run.

Regardless of which company (if either) wins, both Samsung and Apple want to help app developers, consumers, and even healthcare providers aggregate and access health data. They will be putting significant resources towards those goals.

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News 6/6/14

Not surprisingly, the biggest news of the last two weeks in mobile health came from Apple and Samsung. We covered the Apple news here and Samsung news here. Apple and Samsung are the major mobile hardware giants duking it out. Now they’re taking the fight to mobile health. Both are launching platforms to aggregate data from different sources, typically apps and sensors. Samsung is working with UCSF, a solid healthcare brand. Apple trumped that partnership with announcements of collaborations with Mayo and Epic. Only time will tell how this impacts healthcare. As I wrote earlier this week in reference to Apple, regardless of the success of Apple and Samsung, the entry of both of them into healthcare will shake things up.

News 6/6/14

A survey of physicians finds that 1) 47 percent use mobile devices to show patients multimedia, and 2) one in three physicians recommend that patients use health apps. I think those are good high-level signs about mobile use with providers.

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