FitTech Insider

Digital Healthcare: How are technologies evolving societal health?

Thanks to medical AI, patients analyze initial symptoms themselves: How are technologies evolving our healthcare system towards individual, data-aggregating health cockpits, Dominik Böhler (Professor of Management in Digital Health)?

Prelude: Facts & Figures of the digital health market

⬆️ 11.2 Billion 💵 Dollars
in revenue, the global health app market is likely to register in 2025. For comparison: In 2017, it was 2.4 Billion 💵 Dollars. (Source: Statista 2022)

🥇 45,000,000,000 extra years
of higher-quality life humanity could add over the next decade, roughly six years per person on average. How? By challenging our beliefs about health and by reorienting material portions of public policy and the economy. (Source: McKinsey 2022)

💗 Apps: Health condition management ⬆️
The number of disease-related apps has been increasing since 2015 (28% ➡️ 47%), while those related to wellness have been decreasing (72% ➡️ 54%). (Source: IQVIA 2021)

💻 67% of companies with a digital solution ...
report as core asset: an app or a software. 40% have a unique algorithm, 20% a device or data set. (Source: McKinsey 2021)

Question 1: Where is the digital healthcare market heading?

Dominik: Currently, there is a lot of administrative IT in health care institutions, which maintains local networks and perhaps offers local services. But strategic IT means that I also think about questions like: What services can I offer externally? What business models can I use to realize this? How can I perhaps give the skills and competencies I have externally? This strategic layout of digital services is partly happening in the outpatient sector through companies like Doctolib or Avi Medical. But so far, in most health sectors this approach is non-existent.

I see an opportunity in creating better structures in the healthcare system that will make medicine more efficient. The inefficiency of our system is currently outsourced to the patient. The patient carries all the data and files as some kind of pack mule. This results in economic costs. Companies can exploit this potential by supporting IT integration in institutions.

Dominik Böhler: The Startup Professor
Dominik, a business economist and information systems specialist, is a Professor of Management in Digital Health at the Technical University of Deggendorf. Previously, he spent seven years at the Center for Innovation and Business Creation at TUM helping young startups update the healthcare system with their business models. With Digital Health, he wants to make medicine better and more accessible.
(🤝 Meet Dominik at Linkedin)

Question 2: How do Startups create business models in digital healthcare?

Dominik: At fitness exhibitions like the FIBO, you can find a lot of devices whose same sensors and approaches can also be found in doctors' offices. If we do more data-based prevention in the future, some of the devices will also make it into healthcare. Soon, doctors or large medical practices will have a great interest in cooperating with FitTech manufacturers because they will help them to know when a patient might apply for a next appointment.

Some startups today work with a hybrid business model, for example, digital health apps. They develop an app that is approved as a medical product and at the same time a similar app that is not approved. There are many brain games in neurology where users can measure their responsiveness. But as long as this is not done under the view of health data or disease, this app does not need approval. The same application can be approved by manufacturers as a health app and deliver added value through partnerships - for example, by having certain patients play the game as part of a clinical trial and use it as a digital therapeutic.

Question 3: Data - how can we use it for the health system?

According to Jeff Rogers, global research leader in digital health at IBM at FitTech Summit V, it's still a long way to go until data provided by wearables will actually bring a broad impact on society's health. Right now, data from trackers is nothing more than medical entertainment. "It's about selling watches", Jeff explained.
... said Jeff Rogers, Global Research Leader and Distinguished Research Scientist at IBM, at FitTech Summit V: Tech or Die! (8. and 9. November 2021 in in the internet)
(🤝 Meet Jeff at Linkedin)

Dominik: If we constantly collect more data about ourselves, a digital twin of each of us will be created. We will then have a digital image that can be used as a basis for developing precisely tailored medicines and for receiving push notifications that I should go to the doctor. But before that becomes reality, we need trustworthy cloud infrastructures and new rules for competition for data exchange.

Wearables might slip or be forgotten to put on. That eliminates the possibility to receive medicinal data quality. I can measure everything, but I need to be able to interpret the data correctly. For that, I need someone to bring the data streams together and tell me what the data means. In the future, that could possibly be done by a doctor. At the same time, wearable manufacturers have to design their products in such a way that it is fun for users to enter their data correctly.

Question 4: When will we live in a data aggregating health cockpit?

Dominik: At the moment, there are still many decision-makers who are rather cautious. In contrast, there are many startups that are pushing the vision of digital health. Currently, I'm skeptical about prescription apps because of the lack of market access. These are great apps and a great sign. But in order to be able to help on a broad scale, doctors first have to be convinced that digital therapeutics can be useful. In the end, I think there is still a lot to do.

Context of this article: FitTech Summit - FIBO Edition: High Tech Society

The context of the contents of this article: The sixth FitTech Summit at FIBO 2022. The German- and English-language business conference asked: How are fitness technologies (Fittech) developing our society? Answers were provided by 14 experts on three live stage shows:
Power to the People - how fittech is changing the reality of (new) audiences.
Cases of Places - how Fittech transforms places of (public) life.
The Planet's Tenet - how fittech influence worlds and systems.