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Health Aff (Millwood). 2019 Jan;38(1):115-123. doi: 10.1377/hlthaff.2018.05081.

Top-Funded Digital Health Companies And Their Impact On High-Burden, High-Cost Conditions.

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Kyan Safavi is the David F. Torchiana Health Policy and Management Fellow at the Massachusetts General Physicians Organization and an instructor at Harvard Medical School in the Department of Anesthesia, Massachusetts General Hospital, in Boston.
Simon C. Mathews is an assistant professor of medicine in the Division of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, Johns Hopkins Medicine, and head of clinical innovation, Armstrong Institute for Patient Safety and Quality, both in Baltimore, Maryland.
David W. Bates is chief of the Division of General Internal Medicine at Brigham and Women's Hospital, in Boston.
E. Ray Dorsey is a professor of neurology at the University of Rochester Medical Center, in New York.
Adam B. Cohen ( ) is the health technologies program manager at the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory, in Laurel, and an assistant professor of neurology in the Johns Hopkins Hospital and Health System, in Baltimore, both in Maryland.


Digital health companies hold promise to address major health care challenges, though little has been published on their impact. We identified the twenty top-funded private US-based digital health companies to analyze their products and services, related peer-reviewed evidence, and the potential for impact on patients with high-burden conditions. Data analytics (including artificial intelligence and big data) was the most common company type. Companies producing biosensors had the greatest funding. Publications were concentrated among a small number of companies. Healthy volunteers were most commonly studied. Few studies enrolled high-burden populations, and few measured their impact in terms of outcomes, cost, or access to care. These data suggest that leading digital health companies have not yet demonstrated substantial impact on disease burden or cost in the US health care system. Our findings indicate the importance of fostering an environment, with regard to policy and the consumer market, that encourages the development of evidence-based, high-impact products.


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