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OLS backs UK to become global digital health leader

Published on 23/10/15 at 09:26am
Doctor online
Digital health has the potential to improve access to healthcare, the report says

The UK market has the potential to lead the world in digital health - if certain barriers are overcome - according to a new Government report.

The research, by the Office for Life Sciences, was commissioned to analyse trends in the digital health industry. The work was commissioned by the Government department from industry analysts Monitor Deloitte, on key healthcare and life science industry sectors in the UK.

It finds the UK has been an early adopter of digital health technologies, which could improve access to healthcare and the cost-effectiveness of healthcare delivery – but there is work to be done to make sure the industry reaches its full potential.

The report finds: “From our evaluation of the UK industry and competitive position, it is clear that although the UK is good at generating ideas we are less successful at commercialising them and building companies to scale. There are some significant opportunities within digital health that the UK could exploit, building on current government policies and initiatives, and inherent strengths in certain skills and infrastructure.”

The report concludes: “The UK is well positioned in many elements of digital health and has the potential to grow into a global leader in this segment. However, there are barriers to be overcome to realise this potential. The challenges facing companies in each sub-sector [are in] establishing, building and scaling business.”

The report considered four sectors of the digital health industry: telehealthcare, mHealth, health analytics and big data, and digitised health systems and patient medical records.

The global market for digital health was worth £23 billion in 2014 and is expected to almost double to £43 billion by 2018, at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of around 18%. The UK market size is £2 billion and ‘with the right support’, the report says it is expected to grow to £2.9 billion by 2018, with a CAGR of 11%. Therefore, the UK market represented around a 9% share of the global market in 2014, which the OLS predicts will fall to around 7% in 2018 due to stronger growth in other markets.

However the most promising market for growth is mHealth apps, which is currently the smallest digital health market sub-sector. It is predicted to grow to35% in the UK and 49% globally from 2014 to 2018.

Lilian Anekwe

Read the full report here.

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