Digital treatments market due rapid growth spurt

Written by Peter Walker
15/05/19

The market for digital therapeutics - software that augments or replaces traditional therapies - will expand rapidly over the next five years, reaching over $32 billion in revenues in 2024, up from an estimated $2.2 billion in 2019.

This is according to Juniper Research, which found that the biggest application for digital therapeutics will be diabetes and weight loss, generating over $19 billion in 2024.

This sector, led by companies like Omada, Virta Health and Welldoc, has taken an early lead, as lifestyle changes have a more demonstrable impact on diabetes than other conditions.

However, Juniper’s analysis suggested that higher growth will occur in ‘other conditions’, such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder treatment, virtual reality for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and computer games to help with developmental disorders.

While healthcare insurers are leading the way in distributing digital therapeutics, the report noted a strong interest among employers. With reimbursement still largely unresolved, Juniper expects that the majority of revenue will arise from direct payments from employers until 2021, with public health interest to be confined to a handful of markets.

Wellness apps, which frequently claim less quantified health benefits, but are otherwise similar to digital therapeutics, are also on the rise. Juniper expects over 870 million consumer wellness apps to be in use by 2024, generating over $5 billion in revenue. In contrast, employer wellness apps will be worth $20 billion in the same period.

“While our research shows that employee schemes typically have a lower revenue per user than consumer payers, they will pay for longer,” remarked research author James Moar. “They also do not compete directly with free wellness apps, a constant problem for the B2C wellness industry, which has also constrained B2C digital therapeutics.”