With the significant growth in the adoption of wearables and smartphones, there has been a shift in expectations surrounding where the provision of care happens from traditional locations like hospitals and clinics to the home and environment. These devices increasingly function as data collection devices, which can inform diagnostics and treatment decisions. Additionally, they can function as point-of-care treatment options in the form of digital therapeutics and provide medical care. As such, they are changing the historical paradigm of provision of care, leading to opportunities for companies to insert their own product offerings, as well as new markets for traditional players.
The where of care
Aside from the traditional locations, there are two increasingly common emerging locations of care: in the home and in the active spaces of people's lives – their environment.
Home: Increasingly, there is a need for care to be done in the home. COVID-19 has sparked a surge, but even before the pandemic, there was a growing need for decentralized, home-based care. Mail-order services for pharmacy delivery, home testing for illness and health maintenance, and remote monitoring are all now key features of healthcare infrastructures. Digital therapeutics administered at home via a smartphone and tablet provide the same care as a doctor's visit without the costs of time off of work and transportation – with all of the privacy.
Environment: There is currently a need in healthcare to treat patients proactively, with a focus on disease prevention with the hope of improving healthcare outcomes and lowering costs. To do this, it is necessary to reach individuals at points in their lives that allow for behavior change. The ways that this can be done now are typically through push notifications and reminders, but there are increasingly more digital therapeutics services for mental health, opioid addiction, and even diabetes that can be accessed anywhere there is an internet connection.
When considering the opportunities within both traditional and emerging locations, it's important to consider the use cases that are optimal for each location. The below infographic identifies the ideal types of care to provide in current healthcare locations.
In developing new products for consumer health and wellness, it's important to consider not only how care is provided but also where the care can be given. Mobile devices have unlocked an opportunity for organizations to provide solutions to consumers in a wide array of locations, for different conditions, and at different levels of clinical need, which means an open landscape in which companies can play. Those interested should be looking beyond the traditional areas of care provision in order to leverage existing product offerings into the optimal geographic locations, optimizing their reach as a trusted partner in consumer health and wellness – and they should do it now before traditional players close in on these new spaces they need to continue to grow their business.