Rapid Changes in Risk for Digital Health Providers
The advancement of digital technology into every aspect of our lives has been accelerated by the COVID-19 pandemic. Everything from how we work and socialize to the way we consume goods and services has been altered by technology.
One of the most exciting areas where digital technology is creating a virtual revolution is in the healthcare sector. As consumers have become increasingly comfortable with the concept of accessing health and wellness services remotely, virtual care has been attracting far greater attention from Wall Street investors to tech entrepreneurs in Silicon Valley. While there has been steady growth in the popularity of remote medical visits and the use of personal mobile health apps and devices in recent years, studies show that the industry is poised to accelerate even more rapidly. According to one estimate, this industry which generated approximately $175 billion in 2019 will increase to as much as $660 billion in 2025.
In the last 18 months many brick-and-mortar healthcare providers have shifted their services online out of necessity. Now that it is widely accepted to be suitable for many types of diagnoses and treatment, many providers will continue to supplement in-person visits with remote care, where appropriate. As a result of this shift, consumers now accept, and even expect, that much of their care will be provided remotely as the new normal. This proliferation in demand presents huge opportunity for the digital health sector but doesn’t come without its risks. As insurers, it’s important that our clients understand the potential risks to their businesses. To support them properly, it’s vital that we have a clear view of their business model and risk appetite; we want to know what’s worrying or hindering them and where we might be able to help.
Virtual care spotlight
To gain greater insights into how digital health and wellness professionals are responding to the new post-pandemic reality, we commissioned a survey of hundreds of industry leaders across the globe.
Our research found:
- Eighty-nine percent surveyed in the United States expect their businesses to grow in 2021
- Thirty-three percent expect to secure that growth through the development of new products and services
- Almost 9 out of 10 (89%) are seeking investment to drive further growth — this was considerably higher in the United States than in other territories surveyed (62% globally)
While their appetite for growth has not wavered in the recent climate, their understanding of the potential limitations of that growth is less straightforward. Having a clear and holistic view of their risk profile is critical to the success of these organizations. How they manage risk can impact all aspects of their business from securing investment to developing new products. If not properly managed, opportunities for growth could be impeded or, worse, they could prove to be catastrophic to the business.
The business risks to digital health providers are wide ranging. They span from typical medical malpractice that health providers know, through to increased cyber and data protection risk that technology introduces. Further, there is regulatory risk, which increases as more services are provided across borders and into jurisdictions with often very different rules governing the provision of remote healthcare.
In such a vibrant, essential sector with boundless opportunity to innovate and support society in these difficult times, having a clear view of how to manage new and emerging risk exposures holistically is vital for digital health professionals. Working with specialist insurance and risk management experts, who demonstrate deep understanding of the sector and its risks, can help alleviate concerns and enable the healthcare workers to focus on what matters most: patient health and well-being.
About the author:
Kyle joined Beazley in January 2017 as an underwriter on our Miscellaneous Medical & Life Sciences team, specializing in telmedicine/telehealth risks. He previously underwrote small non-profit business at United States Liability Insurance and mid-market/large healthcare accounts at AIG.