Digital health - Statistics & Facts

Today, digital health already is a cornerstone of developed health systems all over the world. The definition of the term is, however, broadly conceived. Related terms such as mHealth, telehealth, health informatics, or especially eHealth, are often used as synonyms. Without question, digital health uses (latest) information and communication technologies to develop a faster, more efficient and cost-reducing healthcare practice. Since the health reform (Affordable Care Act or “Obamacare”) is aiming at more efficiency, it is widely considered as a driver for digital health solutions in the United States. Still, many Americans have no real idea what terms like digital health, e-health or mHealth encompass.

The global digital health market was valued at almost 100 billion U.S. dollars in 2016. According to some forecasts, this figure is expected to increase to over 200 billion dollars by 2020. Mobile health and wireless health are projected to be the leading drivers of this growth. Digital health is also a basin for new investments, primarily in startups. Invested funding increased rapidly from 1.1 billion U.S. dollars in 2010 up to nearly 12 billion in 2017. As expected, the United States is a leader in the digital health industry. The metro areas of San Francisco (Bay Area), New York City, and Los Angeles are major epicenters of this sector.

The growth of the adoption of eHealth solutions can be seen, for example, in the use of electric medical record/electric health record (EMR/EHR) systems among physicians. While the share of office-based U.S. doctors using such systems was around 18 percent in 2001, the percentage stood at 87 in 2015. Nationwide, physicians in Minnesota and Wisconsin are leading regarding the adoption of EHR systems. The adoption rate is even higher among some specialized physicians.

Telehealth and telemedicine are also predicted to be of increasing importance in the near future. The number of telehealth patients globally is predicted to increase twentyfold between 2013 and 2018. In a 2017 survey among U.S. health care professionals, more than half of them described telemedicine as a top or high priority for their practice.

The rapid spread of internet usage, mobile devices and networks, social networking, etc. was an essential precondition for the rise of digital health. Data transfer and information exchange in real-time is a great benefit for both physicians and patients. Still, many patients don’t trust the exchange of health data due to concerns about cyber-security. On the other hand, patients can access an inexhaustible amount of health information via the internet.

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