Now is the Time to Invest in Healthtech

The beginning of any new year marks an opportune time to reevaluate your finances and investment strategy. 2020 marks the start of a new decade and provides even greater incentive for a fresh approach to investment opportunities. As this year commences with unprecedented uncertainty there is reason to consider only the most promising investment trends, says Rupert Spiegelberg, CEO of DoctorLink.

More than 340,000 people have been infected by the coronavirus globally, according to the World Health Organisation, and the number is expected to continue to grow in the coming months.

The pandemic has prompted a sea change in attitudes to the adoption and deployment of digital solutions for pressures in the healthcare system. Adopting technology to enable instant patient access to healthcare and reduce the need for face-to-face consultation has never before received so much support.

While the NHS has long-held plans to achieve digital-first primary care by 2023, the COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated uptake. Within days of the novel coronavirus reaching the UK, Boris Johnson called for the British public to avoid using the NHS-111 line for their health concerns and instead “use the internet if they can”. Meanwhile, Secretary of State for Health and Social Care Matt Hancock has been explicit about his vision to widely implement the use of technology to advance the NHS and better meet the needs of clinicians, patients and managers.

It is clear: COVID-19 has changed everything.

The impact of the virus outbreak has evidenced an urgent need for critical structural changes to create a healthcare system that can scale up and down quickly to meet demand. Ageing and growing populations have always loomed as the largest threat to our overwhelmed health care system, but the coronavirus has highlighted an even greater problem – supply, with limited or static numbers of clinicians and narrow access points to medical advice.

It is impossible to manifest armies of healthcare workers into reality overnight. It takes decades to develop and train a workforce and build the facilities for them to physically operate from.

But new technology can remove friction from the healthcare system, direct patients to the right clinician the first time, and ultimately give doctors back time to focus on the most complex and pressing cases.

Evolving technology allows people to gain access to the medical care and help they need on such an accelerated and efficient timeline that even sceptics can’t deny the benefits of virtual solutions, and in these uncertain times, the government has emphasised its support of HealthTech development. This provides added promise to the industry’s future success and investment interest and makes HealthTech an exciting and attractive current investment strategy.

It is clear: COVID-19 has changed everything.

Individuals who invest in HealthTech will be helping the reality of a digital-first care system be realised by providing the financial resources to companies trying to do so.

The UK’s leading symptom assessment provider to the NHS, Doctorlink, made updates to detect potential COVID-19 cases as soon as the novel coronavirus was announced in January – and has been evolving in line with best practice and new knowledge ever since. As of 24th March, the company had implemented eleven updates to the digital triage technology to detect potential cases of COVID-19 and will likely have made many further changes in line with NHSE and PHE guidance by the time you read this.

This digital triage eases the burden on the NHS and has created a more cost-effective and efficient healthcare solution. Results evidence a significant drop in call volumes – by a third – as well as significant cost and time savings for clinicians, to the tune of 15,000 clinical hours per practice each year.

HealthTech can quickly solve otherwise critical problems and fulfil the growing demand. While adoption has been gradual until now, the current global health crisis has created an incredible surge in demand. This leads to a reliable prediction of material acceleration in adoption in the coming months, leaving space for HealthTech to hold its spot on the top of popularity lists for customer adoption and investor interest.

So long as several factors are considered and risks are assessed, HealthTech represents an attractive investment in these unprecedented times. It is important to remember to make investment choices on something with proven success. There are lots of solutions on the market in test, in pilot, or making outrageous claims and it can be difficult to discern between viable opportunities and those which will waste your time.

If a solution is being used in one part of the market and has passed all accreditations, regulatory requirements, and has applications in a broader market, then it might be a great investment with the right management team.

For those considering medium-term investment propositions, there are a lot of companies out there that create value in the market to providers and patients, while also offering a socially responsible opportunity for investors.

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