Happy New Year, and welcome to the first Digital Health Wire of 2022. The past year was anything but boring for those working in digital health, with the pandemic continuing to expose the strengths and weaknesses of our healthcare system.
As with any new year, 2022 brings its own set of challenges for digital health companies to address, and a new roundup of the trends connecting them together.
- Data Dominance – EHRs, wearables, and telehealth solutions are among the long list of technologies ushering in a new era of healthcare data collection, and leveraging this data to improve outcomes will be a centerpiece of digital health strategies in 2022 and beyond. As more data is able to be collected, more impactful insights will be able to be distilled, and Oracle’s recent acquisition of Cerner is likely a sign of more action to come in the pursuit of patient data.
- Hospital at Home – Over the past year, the remote care space has gained a lot of momentum, with organizations like Moving Health Home beginning to advocate for policies that enable home-based clinical care. At the same time, remote care providers like DispatchHealth and Current Health have seen a surge in utilization, which will help to generate data demonstrating the effectiveness of home-care models and could accelerate regulatory support.
- Less Tuck-In Acquisitions – Last year saw record digital health M&A activity by nearly every metric, but the rising valuations of private startups could start to have a negative impact on the total number of acquisitions. Tuck-in acquisitions, where larger businesses acquire companies for their talent or technology, might begin to see a slowdown if younger startups continue to command higher multiples earlier in their life cycles.
- More Mergers – Although it’s possible that investor enthusiasm is making smaller companies less attractive as acquisition targets, it is also creating a landscape of well-funded startups that will be looking at consolidation as a way to combine strengths, such as with the recent merger of Ginger and Headspace.
- Behavioral Health Spotlight – Behavioral health is among the fastest growing segments of digital health, with a stress-inducing pandemic simultaneously lowering the stigma surrounding mental illness while increasing mental health literacy. These circumstances have created a large disconnect between the supply of mental health providers and the demand from patients, and the companies tackling this problem will continue to attract a lot of attention from consumers and investors alike.
It’s hard to say which, if any, of these trends will be the top story of the next 12 months, but it seems likely that we’re heading into another year with more innovation than can fit into a five-bullet roundup. Wishing you the best in 2022, Digital Health Wire readers!