The transformation of the healthcare market into the digital sphere isn’t a short-term bump driven by necessity, especially as healthcare users reported the highest level of digital engagement in the PYMNTS Connected Economy report released this week.
And there is even more new evidence that digital health is a booming market that’s attracting some of the biggest names in the business world: Alphabet, Apple and Cisco. All of that points to continued success for those who make their living in the healthcare segment of the connected economy for at least the next five years.
The promising future of the digital health market is confirmed by a Technavio report that says the segment is expected to grow by $380 billion between 2021 and 2025. The study “offers a detailed analysis of the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the digital health market in optimistic, probable, and pessimistic forecast scenarios,” according to a Thursday (June 23) announcement.
“The digital health market is driven by the increasing support for digital health from the governments,” the Technavio report says. “The growing adoption of data analytics in the healthcare sector is expected to trigger the digital health market toward witnessing a CAGR of over 25% during the forecast period.”
Inside Digital Health’s Growth
The digital health market “will witness a neutral impact during the forecast period owing to the widespread growth of the COVID-19 pandemic,” the Technavio research says, and market growth is likely to increase in 2021.
The impact of lockdowns, supply chain disruptions, demand destruction and changes in customer behavior are among the key considerations in this market forecast, which includes estimates from before the pandemic began and after it subsided as more Americans were vaccinated.
The report also includes quarterly impact analysis and updates on market estimates and predicts three major new players will emerge as leaders in the digital health market by 2025: Alphabet, Apple and Cisco.
Apple in particular has made the healthcare market an area of intense focus, although it has struggled to make much headway in its efforts to this point. The company is working on several health-related enhancements to the Apple Watch, including sensors to monitor body temperature and blood sugar, plus a special edition for extreme sports.
So far, though, Apple hasn’t done enough to finally make some inroads with finicky health tech consumers.
As much as people rely on connected devices for every aspect of their health — whether that’s tracking their pace on a daily power walk, charting a personal best while swimming laps or monitoring their breathing — Apple is still struggling to make its mark.
A faster processor, a thinner display screen and improved wireless connectivity — expected features of the Apple Watch Series 7 — are nice enhancements, but they don’t get to the heart of what most people want from their connected devices: information — and lots of it.
Why Big Names Are Targeting Healthcare
Alphabet Inc. offers a digital healthcare platform that is designed to create a repository of health records and data (personal health record services), in order to connect doctors, hospitals and pharmacies directly.
Apple Inc. offers digital healthcare apps that are built for iPad, iPhone, and Apple Watch. These apps help medical professionals deliver personalized care and keep up with the demands of healthcare organizations to make work faster and more efficient.
Cisco Systems Inc. offers digital healthcare solutions that drive business and clinical continuity with low interest rates and no upfront costs.
Technology is playing a role in helping companies around the world cut costs and healthcare is one area where the impact has been particularly significant — and apparently will continue to be so for several years. The widespread adoption of telemedicine as a primary way of meeting with doctors is one significant change that has transformed healthcare for the long term.
While telemedicine visits have dropped from about 12 million per month at their peak during the spring of 2020 in the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic to about 8.8 million per month today, that figure is still about 15 times higher than the 600,000 monthly telemedicine visit average in 2019.
So while the number of telemedicine visits is dipping, it’s clear the fear and trepidation around talking to and getting treated by doctors online rather than in person is easing. Add to that the increased willingness by so many Americans to download mobile health apps and engage in digital health and it all adds up to a period of strong growth ahead for the market for the next several years — or more.