Digital Health predictions we got right in 2018

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At the end of 2017, Business Insider Intelligence laid out five digital health predictions for 2018. Earlier this week, we revisited the predictions we got wrong. However, some of our predictions held up throughout the year. Here's a look at three predictions we got right for 2018 (our past predictions are in bold below):

The Number of Digital Health Mergers and Acquisitions Hit a New High in 2018
  • The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) will catch up to digital health innovation, which will bolster the industry and drive adoption of new tech. As anticipated, the FDA set the tone for healthcare innovation in 2018 by clearing cutting-edge digital health products, including the first-ever approvals for an implantable patient monitoring sensor and a digital contraceptive. The FDA also expanded its digital health precertification program and established a new incubator for digital health technology in April. Further, the agency modernized its medical device approval process, which now requires manufacturers pursuing the 510(k) approval pathway to prove that their new device is "at least as safe and effective" as a device that's been on the market for no more than 10 years. The FDA's modernized regulatory process will likely encourage drug and device makers to develop innovative digital health products, fostering advancements in areas like digital medicine and remote patient monitoring.
  • Digital health will take off in emerging markets, leapfrogging developed markets.China surpassed the UK to become the second most active country - second to only the US - for healthcare artificial intelligence (AI) deals in the first half of 2018. And we'll likely see China nipping at the US' heels in the near future, buoyed by the Chinese government's aggressive promotion of AI healthcare services as a key part of its goal to be the world leader in AI by 2030. A vibrant health tech scene also emergedin Brazil in 2018, with more than 250 health-focused startups cropping up to tackle the nation's healthcare inefficiencies. And globally, digital health funding's on pace to have a record 2018. With ample available capital and a need to overcome workforce shortages in many emerging markets, we should continue to see digital health take off in international markets in the year ahead.
  • The healthcare industry will see increasing consolidation as incumbents, tech giants, and digital startups all jockey for a stronger position in the evolving healthcare landscape. Merger and acquisition (M&A) activity was on the rise throughout the year: There were a record-breaking 54 digital health deals through December 18, 2018, up 23% year-over-year (YoY) from 44 deals in 2017, according toMobiHealthNews. The average healthcare M&A deal value also swelled to $271 million, a 114% YoY increase. While digital health startups were the most active acquirers of other digital health companies through Q3 2018, tech giants and incumbents also left their stamp on healthcare M&A in 2018. Amazon made a big splash by acquiring online pharmacy PillPack for $1 billion in June 2018, for example. And Cigna and CVS scooped up Express Scripts and Aetna, respectively. Looking ahead to next year, cross-industry collaborations, like the strategic partnership formed between Walgreens and FedEx, and ongoing deal talks - like those between Walmart and Humana - suggest that large incumbents still have an appetite for deal-making.

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