Lack of reimbursement an issue for digital health products, says survey

Many healthcare companies still don’t see digital health companies as viable partners despite recent progress in the industry, according to a new survey.

The survey by law firm Ropes & Gray found that 44% of leaders in healthcare said they don’t want to partner with digital health companies for a range of reasons.

These include a lack of value proposition (18%), lack of reimbursement from payers (18%), and because it could open the door to cyberattacks.

Findings were based on a survey of more than 250 healthcare, life science and digital health professionals.

Other key findings were that 60% of respondents said that the strongly entrenched reimbursement models of healthcare make it difficult to bring digital health products to market.

Another issue was a lack of understanding among health tech companies of the healthcare market, an issue with 47% of respondents.

Many in the healthcare industry have negative perceptions about the culture of tech companies and their desire to create disruptive technologies.

This approach is not always appropriate for companies who have to operate within strict healthcare regulations.

More than a quarter felt that digital health products aren’t useful, possibly because so many products are still in the pilot phase.

There are hundreds of thousands of digital health solutions, but a large share of these will never launch.

Digital health firms can also take steps to get onside with healthcare payers – such as ensuring their teams have healthcare professionals on board to establish credibility.

Amazon and Google have used this approach with their healthcare ventures, hiring top professionals in the field to lead projects.

Providing data on cost-effectiveness is another approach that could reap rewards, as shown by Propeller Health and its inhaler sensor that could save costs caused by patients failing to take their medications.

Having an AI-based product could also help – 42% of respondents said they are likely or somewhat likely to partner or contract with an AI company over the next year.

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