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October 13, 2014
Digital healthcare funding: Implications for patient services
By: Shawn Roman

Growing pressures on healthcare systems around the world combined with increasing consumer expectations have ushered in a new era of digital disruption in today’s healthcare systems. In the United States alone, funding for digital healthcare is projected to more than double over the next three years, growing from $2.8 billion in 2013 to an expected $6.5 billion in 2017.[1]

Where is this funding being put to use? Between 2008 and 2013, more than half the funding went to:

  • Treatment tools enabling self-care, virtual care, care coordination, personalized medicine and medication management.

  • Patient engagement solutions for nutrition, wearables, access, transparency, incentives, social media and gamification.

Additionally, funding was allocated to infrastructure capabilities, such as interoperability and health analytics, and diagnostic technologies, including clinical and consumer tools that provide practitioners with real-time insights, such as remote monitoring.

But what does this projected increase in digital healthcare funding mean for patient services and pharmaceutical companies? While medicines and therapies are clearly essential for successful health outcomes, today’s patients are also demanding complementary services to help them manage their own health.

In a recent study,[2] we found significant gaps between the services patients wanted and the services they were receiving:

  • Rewards programs: 63 percent want, 10 percent receive.

  • Product information: 53 percent want, 48 percent receive.

  • Financial assistance: 51 percent want, 10 percent receive.

  • Measuring and tracking capabilities: 35 percent want, 20 percent receive.

  • Access to patient forums: 29 percent want, 16 percent receive.

  • Access to clinical trials: 28 percent want, 7 percent receive.

That points to an unprecedented opportunity for life sciences companies to step in to create patient engagement on new outcome-based offerings. Traditional healthcare organizations looking for ways to remain relevant to the new health consumer should consider delivering multi-channel patient education – using big data analytics to improve patient outcomes and developing care management tools so patients can become engaged in their own care. Other strategies to consider include the establishment of external research and development teams, the acquisition of digital start-ups for talent, or the implementation of novel investment models.

Over the next three years, we can anticipate even more changes to patient engagement and experiences as further funds are funneled into these channels. If healthcare organizations want to provide accessible, useful patient services, they will have to embrace digital capabilities and digital healthcare start-ups while embedding technology in all aspects of their work.



[1] FUELED BY HEALTHCARE IT START-UP FUNDING, DIGITAL DISRUPTION IS KNOCKING [PDF, 294 KB]

[2] GREAT EXPECTATIONS: WHY PHARMA COMPANIES CAN’T IGNORE PATIENT SERVICES [PDF, 1.62 MB]

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