A HIMSS Event | SANTA CLARA, CA | SEPT. 16-18, 2019

San Francisco, CA
September 16-18, 2019 | Santa Clara, CA

Is the Digital Health Field Too Crowded? Finding a Niche

By John Sharp, Director, Thought Advisory, Personal Connected Health Alliance

Fueled by seemingly unlimited funding, digital health startups are popping up everywhere. No longer limited to Silicon Valley or Boston, startups and digital health incubators are in every major city. Hackathons, competitions and other startup events encourage innovators to solve the problems of our broken healthcare system. Entrepreneurs with personal or family experiences with healthcare see a business opportunity to create something new or solve a specific problem.

But has the field now become too crowded? Are there too many ideas and startups for our health and wellness systems to absorb? Are some channels already filled with successful solutions which are scaling?

Let’s look at the example of Digital Diabetes Prevention programs. There are three major players in this space – one is about to launch an IPO, another just received a large infusion of investment and the third has successfully entered Medicare Advantage programs. All three are building on their success by expanding to other chronic conditions. While the diabetes prevention through virtual coaching solution may crowd out new startups, the opportunities in coaching for continuum of care has room to grow, particularly in conditions like cancer, autoimmune, gastrointestinal and neurologic disease.

How about remote monitoring? There are many devices on the market, both medical grade and consumer grade. Although some predicted that the wearable market was saturated, now smart watches and other wearables monitoring more vital signs and biomarkers. A new article states, Blood pressure monitoring could be the tipping point.

Then there is voice interfaces and bots. There are a few leaders in the space and many followers. They look for opportunities to make healthcare more efficient without becoming an alternative to IVR. Some are becoming HIPAA compliant so that they can be interactive with patient information. The question remains about whether voice and bots can replace more than patient education and early phase triage for medical symptoms. So there may be a niche for new companies to take the next step in artificial intelligence and interactive apps to engage patients and improve workflows.

These are just a few examples of digital health innovation opportunities. Some are crowded and dominated by a few companies. Others offer niches to play in and build on successes of others. In either case, new endeavors must do a thorough market analysis to have a pitch which makes their digital health offering unique in this expanding marketplace.

Bold Moves in Healthcare
In this session, we’ll look at the new ideas, partnerships, and acquisitions that will drive change in 2019.
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