We see the timeless and the innovative coalescing in a brilliant manner in the domain of what we might label “digital health”. When we understand health, we understand a facet of our being that is intrinsic, undeniable, and irremovable. Health is our essence, our sustainability, our livelihood. But how does something so eternally significant to our existence, both personal and collective, carry value in our digitally centered world?
VCs seem to be aware of the value that is inherent in the digitization of wellness. Rock Health tells us that the digital health industry saw over 4 billion dollars in funding in 2014, more than doubling funding from 2013 and matching the total of the previous three years combined. The impetus for investor support appears to come from a few places.
The nearing omnipresence of smartphones, allowing consumers and providers (or patients and physicians) of the vast majority of socioeconomic circumstances to access this realm of health is on the steady incline. Moreover, it is not difficult to see that we are in the midst of a digital world, as digital continues to prove that it does not live within predetermined boundaries or limitations, but rather maintains an ability to influence without distinction. Simply noting the fact that 4 out of 5 physician offices in the U.S. are presently employing electronic medical records as an instrumental tool for management and administration of practices that were once completely manual tells us the scale of this transition, in the medical space at least.
Supporting and ultimately serving as a key driver of this mass digitization are the financiers, the VCs and angels that are major proponents of digital tech development. To highlight a relevant capability that this rapidly expanding space might capitalize upon, let us discuss the junction of data and digital health.
When we talk data we talk insight, predictive capacities, potential knowledge. So who might this assist in the health world, and who truly reaps the benefits of health data digitization?
Yes, consumers, who from a basic, psychological perspective can benefit from the tailoring and customization of health and wellness solutions. Sharing-based, peer to peer flows of information and personal knowledge serve as massive bolster in an economy where health is essentially a consumable commodity. Behind solutions and innovation is the knowledge that drives these concepts, however, is empirically validated insight. Applications like Fitbit, Equanimity, and Day One which allow you to monitor and track progress of your workout and health goals are game changers in the sense that they are participatory. This economy that we define as the “sharing economy” truly is undefinable in that it encompasses transactions of any kind. Applications such as these attain a particular relevance because rather than simply serving as a detachable piece of your day, they become an integral part of the way that you live. Therein lays the appeal of digital health. It is an intersection that justifies the inextricability of our digitized world and our daily, normal behaviors. When something so integral and intrinsic to life itself enters into a world that is data-driven and insight-oriented, the investment supporting such a transition is simply a no-brainer.