The digital health industry is experiencing exponential growth – as identified by numerous reports, among them one from Trading Platforms UK, which revealed that total digital health industry funding grew by 55.39 per cent between 2019 and 2020 (from US$13.9 billion to $21.6 billion).
“The sector also witnessed an influx of investors after receiving support from various governments and organisations worldwide,” Trading Platforms UK noted. “The crisis compelled governments and hospitals to adopt models such as telemedicine swiftly. The government's endorsement of digital health products acted as a boost for the sector as most investors were confident of positive returns in the future due to a conducive environment.”
Hospitals & Healthcare recalls that back in mid-2020, an international study from Aetna International revealed that employees feel their employers could better help them manage their health and wellbeing through digital health solutions.
Separately, Willis Towers Watson also commented on the surge in digital health solutions: “The pandemic has propelled digital health onto the global stage, as healthcare providers around the world seek to leverage technology to help combat the crisis,” said Kirsten Beasley, the company’s Head of Healthcare Broking, North America. “This digital health revolution will profoundly and permanently reshape how healthcare is accessed and provided so it is imperative that the insurance market considers how to provide integrated solutions that more seamlessly address emerging digital health perils.”
A new risk landscape for healthcare providers
A white paper from WTW, titled The Future of Digital Health, identifies some of these ‘digital health perils’ that Beasley cites as: usability issues for patients and providers alike, competing motivations and misalignments (payor, provider and patient) and the more widely reported issue of data security and privacy.
Indeed, Trading Platforms UK also singled out the issue of patient data as having the potential to impede the digital health sector’s growth.
Is it time to look at expanding insurance coverage?
But these key challenges for healthcare providers identified by WTW must also be considered within any insurance and liability analysis, WTW says. It reasons that digital health exposures require coverage for: bodily injury and economic loss; regulated and unregulated products; and products and services often provided in co-operation with, or at the direction of, medical professionals.
“In any emerging and rapidly growing field, it is important to remain attentive to shifting liability and insurance conditions,” WTW’s David Kennedy concluded.