How interoperability, increased reimbursement options will drive digital health in 2022

The digital health industry experienced a big growth year in 2021. According to Rock Health’s third quarter analysis of the space, funding had already reached $21.3 billion across 541 deals. The year surpassed 2020’s full-year funding total after the second quarter.

Russ Johannesson, CEO of diabetes and chronic condition management company Glooko, told MobiHealthNews the COVID-19 pandemic continued to spur digital health technologies and remote care delivery in 2021, and would probably keep driving trends this year.

While patient and provider adoption was also valuable, increased reimbursement options – both from private and public payers – were important for the space and encouraged investors.

“We definitely saw this increase in reimbursement support for digital health solutions  not just remote monitoring, but deeper digital health solutions as well  in many markets around the world,” Johannesson said. “Not just the U.S., but Germany, France, Belgium [and] others. And I think we’ll continue to see that going forward.”

He predicts funding will continue to grow in 2022. Chronic-condition management in telehealth, wearable tech, mental health, therapeutics and women’s health – including tools outside of fertility and pregnancy – could be a hot area for funding next year.

“It is the kind of market that is getting quite competitive from a solutions perspective. I think the capital is chasing those opportunities where they think there’s real growth, market growth opportunities,” Johannesson said.

“And that’s to the benefit overall of the health industry. But certainly there’s a lot of opportunity in digital health to find the right kind of funding, the right kind of partners and really have an impact in the space.”

The push toward interoperability will be an important trend in 2022, as data sharing is critical to making digital tools more valuable, he said. It will also help them leverage artificial intelligence and machine learning, as well as improve communication between providers and patients.

“The need for both standards and interoperability to be able to share that data effectively and easily is just critically important,” Johannesson said. “And that will really fuel the value proposition under a lot of the digital health solutions.”

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