Coverage & Commentary

Digital health funding hits $8.1 billion. How to spend it wisely

A recently released report details the record growth in funding in the digital health space that has experts wondering whether a market bubble is forming. This much is clear: No flood of cash can replace the unique insight that physicians offer health tech entrepreneurs to ensure that innovations are safe, effective, scalable and evidence-based.

In an essay published by Stat, AMA Executive Vice President and CEO James L. Madara, MD, and co-author Vijay Pande, PhD, noted “that it’s salad days” to be at a startup.

“Yet,” they added, “there’s a moment of failure that crushes many such startups: when the new tool or technology connects with the real world of patients, physicians, medical records, hospitals, and insurers. That’s when a physician who can navigate the nuances of the medical landscape is needed: one with an innovative mindset who can explain how the new product will function in the system, or touch a patient’s life, or integrate into a doctor’s day. For many startups, finding that person is the hardest personnel problem to solve.”

The AMA’s leadership efforts to address that digital health problem and others include launching Silicon Valley health care innovation company Health2047 Inc., which has spun out firms focused on health care data and diabetes prevention.