$$$ In Digital Health | Health & Wellness This Week

This article is part of ParkerWhite’s weekly series, “Health and Wellness This Week,” a roundup of the latest marketing news and what it means for your healthcare marketing strategy. This week, we look at the incredible amount of money being invested in digital health. Everyone is doing it! From longtime players, like Medtronic, to hot new startups taking advantage of the changing healthcare economy, digital provides a myriad of opportunities for innovation, including cost saving, improving the patient experience, and engaging new market segments.

This week in health and wellness:

  • Medtronic reveals smartphone capability for CGM
  • Digital health startups attracting lots of funding
  • Telehealth startup raises $50 million

Medtronic Looks to Smartphone Integration for Continuous Glucose Monitoring

“We’ve heard from our customers that they don’t like having to carry a separate display device and they feel self-conscious when they use it in public, so we want to address that,” Medtronic Global Program Marketing Manager SamanthaKatz said at the Health 2.0 conference in Santa Clara. “Introducing Guardian mobile, Medtronic’s first CGM system enabled by Bluetooth LE that communicates directly with the user’s smartphone.” The new system is not FDA cleared but a clinical trial will start this fall. The app will help provide patients with a “holistic” view of their health, aggregating glucose data with other health data to give a more complete view of events that affect diabetes. The current race to an app connected CGM includes Dexcom, which filed a patent in January, and Senseonics, which recently raised $20M.

Marketing Insights

  • Pay attention to consumer needs and how product design affects form and function à people do care about aesthetics
  • It’s also important to look at how a device fits into people’s lifestyles and habits
  • Integrations with smartphones make sense because of the ubiquity of smartphones and also because people are almost never without them
  • Medical device makers should look for opportunities to help improve the patient experience from a more holistic perspective

Digital Health Startup Funding to Reach $6.5B by 2017

A recent report by Accenture surveyed 2,000 digital health startups that raised funds from 2008 to 2013, with total funding during that time period totaling $10.2 billion. The categories that raised the most during this period included startups addressing infrastructure issues (interoperability and health analytics), engagement products (wearable devices and incentive programs), telehealth, and remote patient monitoring.

Marketing Insights

  • There will be demand for more digital health startups as long as they can prove they can make true impact on healthcare (improving clinical outcomes)
  • Digital health startups will need to find unique differentiators and effectively position themselves within the market
  • Having solid data and case studies to back up your claims will help to gain acceptance among the healthcare community, which is used to having the proof in the pudding

Teladoc Raises $50 Million

Teladoc announced they raised $50 million from Jafco Ventures and other investors. The telehealth company gives people 24/7 access to doctors, accessible via phone, online video, mobile app, or a TelaHealth HealthSpot kiosk. With 8 million members and 250,000 consults a year, the company could be the largest telehealth provider in the U.S. Competitors include Doctor on Demand ($21M raised in August), and HealthTap, which added a telehealth offering to its mobile platform this summer.

Marketing Insights

  • Telehealth reflects how healthcare is changing to cater to customer needs – people don’t like to visit doctors’ offices, they are busy and want something that’s convenient and on their own terms
  • As companies offer new services they will need to help consumers become acquainted with how to use them and what benefits they offer – consumer education is key here
  • Companies will also need to find ways to differentiate their services as the market inevitably gets more crowded as people see an opportunity to make money
  • It will also be important for companies to be able to clearly and effectively communicate their value propositions
$$$ In Digital Health | Health & Wellness This Week