According to Mary Meeker’s 2019 Internet Trends report, the U.S. healthcare sector is undergoing steady digitization thanks to a push from consumer demand. The report reveals that this digitization trend is affecting the entire sector, though certain areas such as consumer tools and health wearables are seeing the fastest transformation.
Meeker—who founded Bond Capital and served as general partner of Kleiner Perkins—has followed internet technology trends for over two decades. She notes in this year’s report that the trend towards digitization in healthcare tracks with the continued rising costs of healthcare in the country. What’s more, healthcare consumers in the United States may face poorer healthcare outcomes compared to consumers in the rest of the world.
In light of this, much of the push towards digitization in healthcare is driven by patients who are utilizing digital health tools to become more involved in their healthcare decision making process. This year’s report shows that, as compared to 2015, a larger number of Americans take advantage of digital health tools such as online health information, mobile health tracking, online provider reviews, live video telemedicine and wearables.
However, digitization in healthcare isn’t just happening on the patient-facing side. The use of electronic health records (EHR) have been adopted by almost every healthcare provider in the country—though their use is still in the early stages. Survey data highlighted in the report shows that about two-thirds of doctors are still seeking interoperability from their EHR system, and predictive analytics and data integration features are still wanting.
One additional digitization trend highlighted by this year’s report: the proliferation of health data. Americans are increasingly undergoing genomics testing, leading to an expanding base of personal genetic data. That puts internet leaders in the position to capitalize on these stores of digital healthcare data, particularly companies like Amazon and Google that have already won consumer trust. For example, Google’s DeepMind is able to utilize AI to provider greater insights for healthcare practitioners, while Apple’s ResearchKit facilitates the collection of clinical study data by medical researchers.