In 2018, digital health startups in the United States raised of $ 8.1 billion. Digital health includes a wide variety of aspects of healthcare and medicine — from prevention and maintaining health to diagnosis and treatment.
Services, based on artificial intelligence using microchips and cloud computing, electronic drug administration systems, allow you to effectively monitor the physical condition of patients and creates the basis for the development of preventive medicine. For example, the Russian Engineering Research Center MEPhI has developed the capsule endoscopic complex “Lily of the Valley,” the only non-invasive method for scanning the small intestine. This miniature capsule, equipped with a video camera and a transmitter, can take pictures of the walls of the gastrointestinal tract and transfer them to a recording device. The endocapsule makes the endoscopy procedure painless, and also allows examinations of patients in remote areas with a subsequent telemedicine consultation.
Telemedicine and remote medical services make it possible to record symptoms and their changes at the stages of diagnosis and decision-making on patient treatment. For example, the National Health Service is working with DeepMind Health to create algorithms for analyzing patient histories and improving treatment recommendations. Artificial intelligence gives clues to the doctor, but the doctor makes the final decision. The Russian service Yandex.Health allows you to communicate with a doctor remotely. SmartMed, a joint project of MTS and Medsi, is a technological solution that stores all information about online and face-to-face appointments of the patient in a single medical history, providing a seamless experience for the user. The online counseling service with a psychologist YouTalk selects a specialist for the user who can communicate with WhatsApp, Viber, Telegram and Skype.
Although only 7% of consumers in the world and 2% in Russia say that they have used telemedicine services, an international Ipsos study in 2018 showed that 44% of users in the world and 50% in Russia declare their desire to use such services.
Digital therapy and behavioral medicine serve as a supplement or even as an alternative to drug therapy. For example, Novartis and Pear Therapeutics plan to collaborate on the development of software applications for the treatment of patients with multiple sclerosis and schizophrenia.
Medical Record-keeping and Prognosis
Patient records and medical records are a valuable source of data that can be used to predict disease outcomes, search for symptoms of rare diseases, and personalize treatment. For example, Pfizer is looking for drugs in the field of immuno-oncology: with the help of the Watson Health service from IBM, the company tests hypotheses by analyzing arrays of scientific publications. The partnership between biochemical drug manufacturer Roche and Flatiron, a technology infrastructure provider for data analysis in oncology, aims to use Big Data analytics for cancer research.
Connected Healthcare Devices
According to a 2018 Ipsos international study, 12% of users in the world use health monitoring devices. However, there are more people who have tried wearable devices than those who continue to use them. In addition, many say that they would start using wearable devices for health after a doctor’s recommendation
In addition to fitness trackers for those who are interested in prevention issues or want to improve the effectiveness of physical training, digital health developments offer solutions for patients with chronic diseases. The Propeller Health sensor in combination with the GlaxoSmithKline inhaler monitors the time of use of the inhaler, transfers data to the smartphone application, after which the algorithm analyzes the data and helps to identify the cause of the attack. The patient also receives medication reminders. For diabetics, the Free Style Libre device has been developed, which monitors glucose levels around the clock; for patients with cardiovascular pathology, a “smart” watch that controls blood pressure and heart rate.
Digital Health Case Studies
• Peloton — a “connected” exercise bike that allows you to get a diverse training experience without leaving your home.
• 23andMe –- a genetic testing by mailing saliva samples.
• American Well – a service of remote medical consultations (telemedicine) for outpatients and hospitalized patients, consultations on behavioral medicine and other medical services.
• Butterfly Network is a compact mobile ultrasound diagnostic device with an application on a smartphone that provides a connection to cloud services.
• Outset Medical — a mobile hemodialysis device that makes life easier for patients.
Judging by the deals in the first quarter of 2019, in the field of digital health, the demand for services to maintain mental health is growing. AbleTo, a behavioral medicine remote services provider, has acquired Joyable, a company offering a coaching program for patients with anxiety disorders and depression. Livongo, a developer of an app for people with chronic illnesses that aggregates patient data and offers them health recommendations, has acquired MyStrength with its digital platform for cognitive-behavioral therapy services. The resource aims to maintain mental well-being through monitoring health status, educational programs, and other traditional systems for treating psychological maladaptation, depression, or problems related to abuse and addiction. The Calm meditation application, a unicorn company in the digital health category, continues to attract investment to enter new markets.