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”) was aiming at more efficiency, it was 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 around 88 billion U.S. dollars in 2018. According to recent forecasts, this figure is expected to increase to over 500 billion dollars by 2025. 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 14 billion in 2019. 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 some 86 in 2017. Nationwide, physicians in Nevada, South Dakota, 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 global market size for telemedicine is projected to increase from around 45 billion U.S. dollars in 2019 up to nearly 180 billion dollars by 2026. The acceptance and adoption rate of telemedicine services among Americans shows a stable increase over the last five years. However, especially virtual visits, most often in the form of live video consults between patients and physicians, are expected to receive a massive breakthrough in the course of the COVID-19 pandemic. The need for social distancing and avoiding contact with other patients make it a very effective alternative for most non-emergent visits.
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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In the following 7 chapters, you will quickly find the 44 most important statistics relating to "Digital health".