In 2023, we saw several disruptive moves among leading value-based digital health solutions and verticals (such as Amazon’s $3.9 billion deal to acquire tech-enabled primary care practice, One Medical). As we continue to engage and advise leaders of some of the highest growth tech-enabled solutions, we have observed several key megatrends that we feel will continue to aggressively impact the trajectory, and performance, of the digital health market.
From my perch, here are the most pressing trends in digital health to watch for as we enter the new year.
Trend 1: A Rising Silver Tsunami
America is getting old, fast. 10,000 people are hitting 65 every single day.
The rising number of elderly individuals, combined with a shrinking caregiver workforce, significantly stresses healthcare systems worldwide in terms of operational expenses and resource allocation. A key objective that we must all align to is promoting the well-being of the aging population while preserving the autonomy and safety of older adults in their homes.
As engineer and statistician W. Edwards Deming rightly said, "In God we trust. All others must bring data." We will see tech-enabled solutions begin to pay more attention to the data and sharpen focus on this aging population, especially as digital health literacy among the elderly continues to improve.
Trend 2: Privatized Entitlements – A Paradigm Shift
As of today, the scales have officially tipped in favor of commercialization, with more than half (51%) of eligible Medicare beneficiaries being enrolled in Medicare Advantage plans and more than two-thirds (72%) of all Medicaid beneficiaries receiving care through comprehensive risk-based MCOs.
As privatization becomes ubiquitous, so too does innovation, leading to the formation of a new convergence space – a rare ecosystem of co-opetition where traditional competitors find it beneficial to not just co-exist but to symbiotically strive – where tech becomes core to care delivery. Watch for more shake-ups where tech-enabled organizations come together to supplement each other's weaknesses and rely on each other’s strengths.
Trend 3: Risk Bearing Entity Growth and Performance
With entities assuming greater risks for patient outcomes and costs, a new era of performance-driven healthcare emerges. Shifting from volume-based care to value-based models, providers focus on delivering efficient, high-quality services. Success in this realm requires robust data analytics, outcome measurement, and a commitment to patient-centered care.
Nationwide, risk bearing entities (RBEs) continue to drive enterprise value creation as “they offer a proven investment rationale for sponsors with clear levers for growth, operational improvement, and multiple exit opportunities.”
My thoughts? We need to advance the ball on traditional discussions around VBC. Dispel FFS v. FFV and instead meet customers where they are. Recognize multiple payment modalities are used to develop market dominance – this is key to drive transformation, performance and growth.
Evaluating the [changing] landscape
The interplay of these megatrends emphasizes the complexity and interconnectedness of healthcare. We're in the age of tech-enablement, and innovation isn't optional – it's the lifeline. Our team has put together the following value-based digital health market scan. I encourage you to download and evaluate for yourself the convergence of many of the leading tech-enablers.