The growth of telehealth…

Health & Education

With Gartner suggesting that “Telehealth remains the most common technology investment area for 2021“, it’s understandable, as the pandemic increased the likelihood that consumers were willing to dip their toe into the virtual care space, given a reluctance to visit their local GP in person. 

The Applause survey statistics in this article are really telling; of the 5,000 consumers polled, almost half (46%) had used telehealth services at least once in the pandemic, and 84% as a way to avoid in-person activity. 

One key takeaway is whether this was just a Covid-related spike in engagement/adoption, or whether it has a continued role in the future of healthcare and telehealth adoption; 64% or respondents suggested they would use telehealth again beyond the pandemic. 

When we speak to institutional investors, a few key phrases pop up in M&A world, the first is usually ‘Covid-resilient‘: has the business been able to weather the pandemic storm? If so, this sets one business apart from the rest (sector usually plays a large part). 

The other phrases – ‘covid bounce‘ and ‘post-Covid trajectory’ – relate to whether the performance for a company was an ‘exceptional’ period and whether that performance can be sustained into the future. 

The level of investment in digital health – $14.7Bn in the first half of 2021, more than all of 2020 and double 2019 – would suggest that, given the growing adoption amongst consumers, institutional investors are clearly comfortable with the future prospects of the industry and it not being a ‘Covid bounce‘.

It’s interesting to note for those who do have digital health solutions, the following should be key areas of focus:

Make patient feedback a priority – benchmark user experience against some of the most successful retail apps.

Inclusion include accessibility from the outset – support those with disabilities.

Don’t forget about internal users – Employee Experience (‘EX’) from a health care workers perspective is as important as patients.

Digital health solution providers will also strategically be looking at two ways to improve their platforms:

  • Channel Partners – in order to achieve scale rapidly, client acquisition through strategic partnership can easier than direct to corporate approach. 
  • Feature Development / Acquisition – if it’s akin to one of the common failures of HR Software vendors, then the key will be to make sure the platform has enough features relative to the competition. One option is to develop internally or it might be quicker to acquire another company. 

With the growing importance of wellbeing in the workplace and adoption of virtual care, the links between those specialising in B2B solutions and those offering B2C solutions present an exciting proposition for future investment and M&A. 

…no technology accelerated as quickly during the past year and a half as that of telehealth

By Anusheh Khan on 04/11/2021