2020 and the global pandemic accelerated innovation and change in many areas, and digital health was no exception. At Bracken Marketing, we noted that the year brought a marked increase in the uptake of digital technologies into healthcare systems. By all indicators, this shift will continue long after the pandemic is over.
This blog examines three key digital health trends we've identified for 2021 and provides resources for learning more.
More direct to consumer applications
One macro trend accelerated by COVID-19 in 2020 was digital technology adoption across healthcare systems. The increased attention paid in mass media and consumer mindshare about disease treatment, clinical trials, and other virus-related news due to COVID-19 dramatically shifted consumer attention to this topic. Regulatory changes also accelerated in response to the pandemic. Some of the most notable being emergency use authorization for COVID treatments and more relaxed telemedicine rules to provide more flexibility for patients due to social distancing and travel restrictions.
These dynamics have increased consumer’s appetites and readiness for direct-to-consumer healthcare. The rapid timeline by which Operation Warp Speed brought novel vaccines to approval and adoption, as well as other factors, has created an environment where consumer preferences have changed. There is a general higher knowledge about the need for health measures and healthcare, a great understanding of virtual options such as telehealth for healthcare, and a continued reluctance for unnecessary in-person contact.
We see 2021 shifting to more direct to consumer digital touchpoints, some related specifically to COVID-19 response:
And unrelated to COVID-19 initiatives, there will likely be more partnerships between big pharma and big tech, such as this one between Apple and Biogen that addresses the high unmet need for early cognitive impairment detection.
More data, more trust
Digital applications at scale drive an unprecedented amount of data. The events of 2020 also heightened the importance and awareness of the role of data across the healthcare continuum. When it comes to data, the overall issue is trust:
Artificial intelligence gains more traction
Key digital health resources
Staying current with digital health can be overwhelming. Here are three essential resources to get you started.
2020 accelerated digital innovation and digital health, but that is just the beginning. As we begin to emerge from the current global pandemic, digital preferences will not disappear.
As consumers, we’ve adjusted to a new way of life, convenience, and digital adoption, and likewise, healthcare sponsors and providers will continue to look for valuable digital solutions. The exponential growth of digital health apps, digital therapeutics, and digital clinical solutions will continue.
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