MobiHealthInformation’ predictions for 2021: Price transparency instruments might be a sport changer, telemedicine use will even out


In 2020 well being tech lastly had its day within the highlight and made it into practically each supplier group as a result of coronavirus pandemic. However, as increasingly Americans are vaccinated, a few of that brick-and-mortar care will return. 

Regardless, it is clear to see that digital well being is right here to remain. MobiHealthInformation did our greatest to look into the crystal ball and made 5 predictions about what’s going to occur in that house this yr. 

Telemedicine utilization will even out, however will retain a lot of new adopters 

During the early days of the coronavirus pandemic we noticed unprecedented use of telemedicine. In reality, a examine in MMWR and Morbidity and Mortality Weekly reported that telehealth visits elevated by 154% over the last week of March in contrast with the identical interval in 2019. 

This gave sufferers extra publicity to digital instruments, and telemedicine particularly. But as clinics and hospitals start to ask sufferers again in, there might be some night out. 

However, it’s unlikely that telemedicine will return to pre-pandemic charges now that customers have been onboarded to the method. Most doubtless a choose group of sufferers will go for telemedicine by default and others will use it in sure conditions, equivalent to pressing care. 

In reality, in line with the Accelerate Health 2020 Consumer Telehealth survey, a ballot of two,052 people balanced to the U.S. inhabitants, 77% survey-takers stated they’d be prepared to make use of at the least one sort of telehealth expertise as soon as the pandemic has ended. Additionally, 41% of respondents stated they would favor telehealth for particular circumstances as soon as the pandemic is over. However, that also leaves the majority of survey takers preferring the in-person care mannequin. 

“If you take a look at the height, when 30-40% of all visits have been digital, that got here off fairly rapidly because the healthcare system reopened. But it’s additionally leveled off round 10% of enterprise proper now, and I feel, as individuals now have this as a instrument of their arsenal, there’s going to be quite a lot of innovation round digital care,” Paul Brient, SVP and chief product officer at Athenahealth advised MobiHealthInformation

We’ll see extra digital well being IPOs, in addition to extra SPAC offers

2020 was the yr of the digital well being IPO. This yr Amwell, Accolade, One Medical, Nanox and GoodRx all hit the general public market. Meanwhile, Hims is trying to go public via a merger agreement with Oaktree Capital Management-sponsored particular goal acquisition firm (SPAC) Oaktree Acquisition Corp. 

Not solely did we see corporations go public, we additionally noticed digital well being corporations flourish on the general public markets. Teladoc, one of many first corporations in digital well being to go public (making its debut in 2015), continued to beat its income expectations in Q1-Q3 of 2020, partially as a result of demand for telemedicine through the COVID-19 pandemic.

Meanwhile, Livongo, which went public in 2019, was acquired by Teladoc over the summer, giving early Livongo buyers a hefty return on funding. 

Because these corporations are doing so nicely it’s doubtless that different digital well being corporations will take a web page from this guide and take into account a public exit possibility. 

“COVID-19 supercharged funding exercise in digital well being in 2020. Ten digital well being classes had their greatest yr with document funding quantities. It was additionally the largest yr for IPOs with six digital well being corporations elevating over $6B. We may see much more corporations going public in 2021 if the present IPO and SPAC increase continues,” Raj Prabhu, CEO of Mercom Capital Group, stated in a press release earlier this week.

“The pandemic has mainstreamed the patron facet of digital well being applied sciences in lower than a yr. Digital well being merchandise that have been a novelty a yr or two in the past are actually a necessity.”

Companies will compete to grow to be one-stop retailers for healthcare 

Over the final yr, we’ve seen massive digital well being corporations broaden their choices and transfer nearer to an built-in care mannequin or, for customers, a “one-stop store.”

Notably in August Teladoc acquired chronic care management platform Livongo for a whopping $18.5 billion. At the time the businesses pitched this M&A as a approach to supply “entire particular person” care that would change how prospects entry care. The deal introduced collectively Teladoc’s conventional telehealth platform, Livongo’s digital teaching companies and a slew of information that may very well be used for larger insights about an individual’s well being. 

“Together, we’ll additional remodel the healthcare expertise from preventive care to essentially the most complicated circumstances, bringing ‘entire particular person’ well being to customers and larger worth to our purchasers and shareholders consequently,” Gorevic stated in a press release on the time of the acquisition. 

While Teladongo stands out as the poster youngster for a extra built-in care mannequin, it’s unlikely to be the one one. According to Exits and Outcomes, Teladoc’s rival Amwell is in talks with Omada. If this deal have been to come back to fruition, it might have an analogous operate to Teladongo, the place sufferers can entry digital teaching and telemedicine via the identical firm. 

We’re additionally seeing direct-to-consumer digital care platforms Ro and Hims, which each acquired their begin within the sexual wellness house, transfer to broaden their choices and supply extra of that holistic expertise. For instance, Ro recently purchased on-demand in-home care service Workpath, which is ready to do dwelling lab-sample collections. The firm additionally covers quite a lot of situations, together with smoking cessation, weight management, allergies and prescription dermatology.

In 2020, we noticed quite a lot of growth from digital well being corporations. In 2021, we might even see some motion from huge tech and retail. Amazon particularly has spearheaded a lot of well being packages from its digital pharmacy to a brand new wearable.

It has additionally created a digital major care providing for its Seattle-based workers. However, sooner or later we might even see extra of a connection between these choices, which may very well be a sport changer for ease and comfort for well being.

Digital psychological well being is right here to remain

During the coronavirus pandemic we noticed an uptick of parents accessing behavioral healthcare. Mental healthcare was seen as low-hanging fruit within the telemedicine house and, with new adoption charges, is prone to proceed to develop. 

Fueled by the numerous quantity of funding {dollars} poured into digital psychological well being corporations this yr, digital psychological well being corporations can have the sources to broaden. 

“In H1 2020, digital behavioral well being corporations acquired $588M, roughly the annual funding for this phase in any earlier yr (whole behavioral well being funding in prior three years was 2019: $539M, 2018: $658M, 2017: $273M). Funding has gone to corporations with a variety of product options, from totally automated chatbots to video chat platforms with extra instruments that increase patient-clinician interactions,” the authors of Rock Health’s mid-year report wrote

While conventional telemedicine – the place a counselor or medical talks to a affected person over video or cellphone – has made it to prime time this yr, we’ve additionally seen a lot of different psychological healthcare supply fashions develop. One of the largest was digital therapeutics. 

A slew of recent merchandise entered the market due to a brand new FDA guidance on digital health devices for treating psychiatric disorders that waived a number of regulatory necessities – equivalent to the necessity to submit a 510(ok) premarket notification – all through the COVID-19 emergency. During that point each Pear Therapeutics and Akili Interactive launched merchandise early. Later within the yr Akili landed a de novo for its product aimed toward treating youngsters with ADHD via a video game-like remedy. 

“There’s this open second due to COVID the place everyone seems to be aligned. Patients are determined and wish options. Providers see that these partitions are damaged down, they usually wish to reply,” Eddie Martucci, CEO of Akili Interactive, said at the DTx East web conference in September. “Everyone understands that we have now this style of effectivity and speedy potential to serve the affected person, and we’re seeing it occur in actual time. I actually hope that tempo cements itself and does not recede.”

While we’re seeing extra prescription digital therapeutics for psychological well being available on the market, the trade continues to be hammering out its distribution and reimbursement efforts. We might even see extra readability on this in 2021. 

While telemedicine visits might even out this yr, the psychological well being trade stays ripe for innovation. If something, the yr has proven sufferers and suppliers new use circumstances for treating behavioral well being situations digitally. 

Price transparency instruments will affect affected person alternative 

As sufferers step as much as the plate as customers, there’s an growing stress to know the worth tag. 

GoodRx is a startup that has been working on this house for a while. It acquired its begin letting self-paying prospects examine medicine costs and reductions. Users may then print out digital coupons and produce them to their pharmacy with their prescription.

More lately, the corporate moved into the telemedicine space after buying Heydoctor. The firm now presents not solely in-house telemedicine companies, but in addition a value transparency instrument for evaluating the place to get telemedicine companies. 

We’re additionally persevering with to maintain our eyes on the retail giants. In 2019, Walmart launched a brand new well being platform that permits customers to guide appointments on-line at certainly one of its clinics. What’s fascinating about that is that it provides sufferers a variety of how a lot the medical care might be with out insurance coverage earlier than they guide.

Last January, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services put its weight behind a value transparency rule, which might require hospitals to open up to sufferers their negotiated costs with payers.

Theoretically the worth transparency ruling would have left sufferers with extra readability about healthcare prices. However, in actuality these instruments are sometimes troublesome to search out and troublesome to make use of. We predict that sooner or later supplier organizations are going to need to sustain with the rising transparency that retail clinics and telehealth corporations present.


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