Global digital health investments hit an all-time high of $57.2 billion in funding in 2021, fueled by the growing need to provide digital solutions and patient delivery models during the pandemic. By focusing primarily on service delivery and user experience, digital health platforms are not devoting much of these resources to high-quality medical and wellness content to engage increasingly health consumers. more demanding.
The record funding marks a 79% jump from the $32 billion raised globally in 2020, according to a year-end report from business intelligence firm CB Insights. Telehealth funding reached a new high in 2020, attracting $17.6 billion, up 68% from $10.5 billion the previous year.
Digital health tools offer many benefits in delivering quality healthcare, including increased patient empowerment, better disease management, convenience, less burden on healthcare professionals, and better access to affordable health care. This comes at a time when health care consumers are taking an increasingly active role in making health care decisions with their clinicians.
While most investments in new digital health tools focus primarily on efficiency and user experience, many companies are now finding that they are failing to deliver evidence-based medical information curated by a reliable and objective source, which meaningfully engage health consumers.
This can be deeply problematic at a time when medical misinformation is rampant and negatively impacting health decisions and outcomes.
Access to Evidence in the Age of Disinformation
In recent years, the rapidly changing information environment has facilitated the spread of misinformation at unprecedented speed and scale, especially on social media and through search engines. Misinformation tends to spread quickly on these platforms for several reasons. The growing number of places people are looking for information is making misinformation harder to find and correct. And, while the media can help inform and educate consumers, it can sometimes inadvertently amplify false or misleading narratives.
Misinformation also thrives in the absence of easily accessible and credible information. When people search for information online and see limited or conflicting search results, they may be confused or misinformed. Isn’t it surprising then that consumer confidence in health has eroded in recent years?
Developing credible and trustworthy medical content is an entirely different discipline from user design and technology development – and is therefore often the missing piece of the digital health puzzle. The result is a Wild West in which providers and consumers are bombarded with massive amounts of information that lacks the context and credibility needed to drive action. It can also make it difficult for healthcare players to distinguish quality medical content from the work of savvy content marketers.
Partner with trusted content providers to impact care
Trusted, high-quality content is the foundational element that allows digital health solutions to evolve from technology platforms to comprehensive content resources for patients. Healthcare consumers often need more than a technological prompt to take the desired action. Thus, platforms that provide reliable medical information that can be personalized to patient needs may have the potential to have a tangible impact on care.
Additionally, the information that healthcare consumers have access to should be aligned with the clinical content that care teams refer to when dealing with it. Ensuring alignment between clinical content and patient content is a specialized discipline that most digital health technology companies lack the expertise or resources to perform. Partnering with companies that excel in this area can help eliminate the ongoing investment and cost that digitally-focused organizations would need to develop and maintain their own rich, high-quality content while providing evidence-based information that patients need. and clinicians can trust.