Why marketplace sits at the heart of thriving ecosystems

Webinar: Why marketplace sits at the heart of thriving ecosystems

A thriving ecosystem has the potential to generate extensive value for all participants, however, telcos may find building such an ecosystem, challenging.

In this webinar, we explain how a B2B marketplace can sit at the heart of an ecosystem and help drive scale, allowing telcos to realise the potential of ecosystem approaches.

The key topics we will cover:

  • The shift towards ecosystem models
  • The challenges of these models for telcos
  • The role of B2B marketplaces as a key enabler of ecosystems
  • The guiding principles to drive scale

You’ll need to submit your name and email to access the webinar

The digital health opportunity for telcos

​​The digital health opportunity for telcos

An overview of the opportunity in digital health for the telecoms industry and how telcos should address the healthcare market

Our overview of the digital health opportunity gives you some of our current thinking around healthcare and the role for the telecoms industry. Read more specialist research and articles on digital health, and get in touch with our healthcare specialists, on our digital health hub.

What is digital health?

The landscape of the healthcare industry is changing on a global scale. Populations globally are growing, ageing and, particularly within developing markets, becoming wealthier. This creates a strain on the healthcare industry not only due to the increasing number of patients who need access to medical services, but also because older and wealthier populations bring a corresponding rise in chronic/non-communicable diseases (NCDs). The focus of health systems is therefore moving from the treatment of acute, one-off, illnesses towards the routine management of longer-term diseases and health issues (e.g. diabetes, COPD). These patients require more constant care, leading to a significant rise in demand on medical professionals and medical infrastructure.

Driving efficiency with technology

The healthcare industry remains, even in developed or high-income markets, one of the least digitised sectors globally. Many hospitals still run manual, paper-based operations. In order to address the growing demands of patients, the healthcare industry must transform, adopting technology to drive efficiencies within the sector.

Digital health: A definintion

Digital health is the development and implementation of solutions across the four pillars of technology laid out above, which will help support the industry in addressing its resource issues. Trends around big data, machine learning/artificial intelligence (ML/AI), the IoT, edge computing, and 5G will help the industry move towards better, more preventative and more tailored care.

Why telcos should focus on digital health

A real opportunity for telcos to move beyond core connectivity

Telcos globally are facing big challenges. Connectivity services are becoming increasingly commoditised and operators are seeing a steady decline in core revenues. Across both consumer and enterprise markets, telcos are at risk of becoming seen as only utilities.

There has been a lot of hype around new network technologies such as 5G, edge computing, the IoT, and the new revenues they could bring to the telecoms industry. However, even with these new technologies, providing connectivity alone will not drive sustainable growth for operators. With a connectivity only approach, even if average revenue per user (ARPUs) for new services start higher initially, they are unlikely to remain high and will face the same commoditisation as seen with 4G services.

At STL Partners, we are therefore urging the operators to move beyond their core connectivity offerings and play further up the value chain, exploring the vertical opportunities within application enablement and solutions and applications. This will enable them to build stickier, value add offerings, and capture a larger share of wallet.

Healthcare offers a strong opportunity to do just this. We see the reason as twofold:

1. The healthcare industry is one of the least digitised sectors worldwide: There are many opportunities for digitisation across the healthcare market where other industries have existing capabilities. Partners can therefore introduce a wealth of potential new technologies, applications, and services to help drive efficiency.

2. The healthcare industry has a limited amount of IT/technology expertise: The industry is therefore ripe for a partner with strong technological capabilities to deliver end-to-end services to the healthcare providers. Most providers do not have the internal skills to develop, implement, and manage new technological services – this is an opportunity to provide professional, education, and integration services beyond traditional offerings.

Not only does the healthcare market therefore offer a lot of potential opportunities for IT transformation and the introduction of digital services, but also, we believe that operators are well positioned to seize and capture this opportunity.

A strong right to play for telcos in healthcare

In the majority of circumstances, telcos with a well-defined and committed strategy can build a strong right to play in the healthcare space, even versus the internet giants and hyperscalers such as Google and Amazon. This is because:

• The operator is a regional brand: operators have a strong local presence in their respective regions – this brings a level of trust, credibility in understanding local needs, trends, and regulations, and often existing relationships with key government and regulatory bodies. Competition from global players will therefore be limited given lack of local presence and expertise. The operators’ regional brand also brings market access and reach to smaller more niche solutions providers who see the operators as potential channel partners to enter new markets.

• The operator has a local workforce: Because the healthcare industry has a relative lack of technical maturity and IT expertise, co-development and end-to-end implementation of solutions will be essential in driving adoption. The regional field force of the operators can work directly with healthcare providers to develop bespoke end-to-end solutions and educate clinicians on how to use/manage the new infrastructure. This is something which the healthcare industry needs from its partners and is something which, due to their productised business models, the hyperscalers cannot deliver.

• The operator is heavily regulated: operators are regulated by local governing bodies. A key issue in addressing healthcare is the perception of reliability, security, and data privacy – a perception which telcos live up to. This also gives operators a rare advantage over hyperscale/global internet players (e.g. GAFA), who are often under fire for the data security and are perceived as being relatively unregulated in comparison to operators.

• The operator has longevity: Given their size, ties with governing and regulatory bodies, and integration into daily life, telcos can give healthcare providers a high level of confidence that they will be around for the long haul. Healthcare providers do not want to invest resources into building and implementing a solution with an enterprise that won’t be there in a few years – they need the security that the solution and support will be around for the many years that they are using it. This is especially true in healthcare, due to the relatively slower pace of change in the industry.

Healthcare offers telcos a sustainable role for lasting growth

As well as operators providing a sense of reliability to healthcare providers, the healthcare industry offers operators a more stable opportunity relative to other verticals. Healthcare spending per capita is increasing globally and governments are unlikely to cut this spending – healthcare is a universal need and, as populations grow and increase in wealth, there is little to no scope to reduce total spend. Furthermore, given that in many markets healthcare sits within the public sector, the industry faces fewer external capitalist pressures. There is therefore less potential volatility in the sector and within the ecosystem, contributing to the stability and longevity of the opportunity for telcos.

This is not to say that the healthcare industry has a wealth of money to spend on IT and transformation – providers are having to do more and more with their money to make ends meet as demands on medical infrastructure increase. However, for operators who can show the value of their solutions and services in driving significant efficiency gains for providers, they will be able to create a permanent role for themselves as a partner in the healthcare ecosystem.

How to address the digital health opportunity

There are different segments of the healthcare industry and therefore different strategies telcos should adopt to address each one. We give an overview of these in our recent article – Four strategies for telcos in healthcare. However, we outline four key takeaways from across our consulting and research below.

1. A well-defined mergers and acquisitions (M&A) strategy will be essential

In order to move into the healthcare industry telcos will need to build industry expertise and credibility, especially if they are looking to play further up the value chain. Telcos can solely partner to play in the healthcare sector but, if a telco wants to have a significant presence, then we believe M&A is a necessity – it enables telcos to build expertise in the industry, a better understanding of market dynamics and challenges, and credibility with healthcare providers and IT buyers.

M&A can also enable telcos to build stronger capabilities more quickly bringing solutions to market and reaching customers faster, without the dedication of internal development teams, who may have little knowledge of healthcare end-users needs and priorities.

However, telcos should take a gradual approach, taking time to learn about the market and develop a clear strategy and entry point. They should target acquisitions that can help them work towards a specific goal. Otherwise they risk buying into a part of the healthcare market where they cannot scale.

2. Taking a connectivity “plus plus” approach may leave value uncaptured

There are different models telcos could employ to capture a higher proportion of the value offered by the sector. One option is to leverage their existing strength in connectivity. Telcos could continue to offer traditional networking services (e.g. Private networks, managed LAN, IoT platforms, eventually network slicing) to healthcare providers as to build a stronger presence and customer base in the industry. From there, operators could upsell their customers, learning more about their pain points, and delivering higher value services on top of their connectivity portfolio.

However, moving up the value chain from connectivity is difficult. By taking a bottom up approach, operators lose the credibility to offer vertical specific applications and solutions – why would healthcare providers trust their broadband provider to credibly deliver a healthcare solution? The go-to-market strategy isn’t appropriate and companies such as O2 Telefónica are a good example of how this can stunt success. Read more about O2 Telefónica in our recent telcos in health case studies report.

Furthermore, specialist healthcare applications providers and the internet giants are moving the other way – from solutions and applications down. They are therefore building the expertise and credibility necessary to capture the higher share of wallet in the applications and integration layers, and either bundling in or independent of the underlying connectivity.

Ease of addressing opportunity for telcos

Although it is initially more difficult for them to do, operators should consider starting with a solutions and applications approach, and then targeting application enablement or a health data exchange as a long term strategy.

3. Co-development will be pivotal in addressing the market

The healthcare industry lacks IT expertise. This is why it offers telcos the opportunity to move beyond connectivity and offer end-to-end services, supporting the providers in implementing and managing new digital solutions.

However, telcos who want to succeed in the healthcare space should engage healthcare providers long before it gets to the commercialisation of solutions. This is because it is the clinicians – the doctors, nurses, carers, who will be using these applications on a daily basis and if they do not understand the application, or trust that it is useful to their routine, they will not adopt it.

Having gone through decades of education and training, medical professionals do not want to feel like they are having a new process or technology forced on them against their will, changing practices they have developed over many years of specialist work. Therefore, through the development process, operators should engage healthcare providers to co-develop solutions that work for the clinicians and that clinicians understand. This will help drive credibility and adoption.

4. Patience will reap rewards

The healthcare opportunity is not a quick win. It will take time to build the necessary presence and capabilities to make a significant and lasting role. TELUS Health, an organisation which offers a benchmark for what operators could achieve in healthcare, began its journey over a decade ago. By continuously building and building expertise, following a clear and patient strategy, with strong buy-in from C-level down to the field force, TELUS Health has built a practice which now accounts for ~8% of TELUS’ total revenues. It has carved out a permanent role in Canada’s healthcare system, and so that 8% will only continue to grow. For more on TELUS Health, download our free case study here.

Telcos looking to pursue the opportunities in healthcare must define a clear strategy and stick with it, highlighting tactical opportunities along the roadmap to justify and secure investment but understanding that healthcare is a long term play for lasting revenues and growth.

 

A role for telcos in the Coordination Age

At STL Partners, we have written extensively about the move of the telecoms industry into a new age. The Coordination Age, which has come about due to global challenges around resource availability and efficiency, reflects that there is a greater need for more effective coordination and sharing of data/information across governments, enterprises, consumers, the internet, processes and things. Read more on the Coordination Age and the role for telecommunications here. This is especially true in healthcare where, as we have mentioned throughout, a lack of resource coupled with growing demands is creating a need for significant efficiency gains.

Furthermore, the healthcare ecosystem is fragmented and complex – from governments to insurers to GP practices to hospitals, there are a wealth of stakeholders who need better coordination between each other, in order to share insights and drive efficiency gains for the sector. We see this as a clear opportunity for telcos to help coordinate, creating as-yet unknown opportunities and deriving lasting value.

Digital health insights pack

This 24-page document will provide you with a summary of insights from our healthcare research and consulting work:

  • Key trends in the healthcare industry
  • The role for telecoms: applications and business models
  • Strategies for success: where to start
  • How STL Partners can support you

Request the free digital health insights pack by clicking on button below:

Digital health solutions: updates from 6 telcos​

​​Digital health solutions: updates from 6 telcos​​

Triggered by the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as an increasing focus on enterprise opportunities, telcos are building up their services for the healthcare sector. They are working with partners to provide a range of digital health solutions including smart hospitals, remote monitoring and digital health apps. While the digital healthcare market is still nascent, there are multiple ways in which telcos have, and can, helped provide access to quality healthcare.

Introduction

The deck attached to this article looks to provide some visually stimulating insights on what telcos are doing in healthcare. This article and deck look at updates from six telcos from across the globe: Verizon, HKT, STC, Globe, Telenor and Vodafone. They do not give an exhaustive overview of each telco’s strategy but instead look to draw out some of their interesting digital health solutions and products.

Furthermore, while this deck and article dive into six telcos’ strategies, STL has previously written reports on Telus health and how nine telcos are approaching the healthcare market as well as articles on 10 telco healthcare services and the digital health apps being offered by seven telcos.

As this article and deck will show, COVID-19 has greatly accelerated digital healthcare and increasingly telcos are making moves to establish or expand their healthcare offerings. These products and solutions include: digital health apps, smart hospitals, remote monitoring and virtual clinics.

Verizon

Verizon has a holistic approach to its healthcare strategy, promoting the vision of providing ‘care everywhere’ through connected hospitals, connected homes and connected ambulances. Verizon also focus on transforming the doctor-patient relationship to erase spatial barriers and ensure that all have access to quality healthcare whenever they need. Verizon’s acquisition of BlueJeans in 2020 is spearheading this ambition providing the technology for patient and doctor coordination and consultation.

STC

STC has a strong right to play in healthcare in their market of Saudi Arabia due to their widespread infrastructural footprint and technological maturity. They launched their innovative virtual clinics due to Covid-19 which encompass the remote monitoring of patients, video consultations and deployment of equipment and treatment if necessary. These clinics are connected via cloud connection over STC’s fibre network. STC also provides assistance to the healthcare industry through:

  • Enterprise medical imaging (EMI) providing access to data for radiologists
  • Tari, a communications system which connects patients and doctors
  • A centralized appointment system, unifying previously fragmented solutions.

Telenor

In their primary market of Scandinavia, Telenor are looking to provide access to quality healthcare for their ageing population with a drive to digitise and automate healthcare. They are focusing on: increasing mobile workflow and the secure data transfer of electronic records; remote patient monitoring through their app Tryggi; and the development of smart hospitals through multiple pilots in Norway. Furthermore, Telenor are expanding into Asia through their healthcare offering known as Tonic. In Bangladesh, Tonic is seeking to reduce healthcare inequalities by providing science-backed health and education, access to immediate medical advice via phone at low costs, and discounts and cash through mobile banking or SMS to help cover the cost of unexpected hospitalisation. Furthermore, triggered by the outbreak of Dengue fever in 2019, Tonic has expanded into India, launching an app to facilitate home testing and video consultations.

HKT

HKT is looking to alleviate pressure on health services due to the ageing population of Hong Kong and to bridge inequalities between public and private healthcare. HKT has primarily sought to do this through apps, launching an eSmart app in 2016 as a personal wellness and healthcare management system. In 2020, at the start of the COVID-19 outbreak, they launched their app DrGo to facilitate medical consultations and prescription management. They have since expanded this app to offer specialist mental health and psychiatric consultations. HKT are also developing their 5G smart hospital solutions to incorporating 4K video, 3D imaging, VR and AI technologies.

Globe

Globe Telecom are aiming to benefit healthcare enterprises in two ways. Firstly by empowering their workforce through M2M technology, their cloud based software GoCanvas, and the sharing capabilites of Google Suite. Secondly, they look to optimise enterprise operations by ensuring data safety and cybersecurity. In addition, Globe’s KonsultaMD app launched in 2020 providing a plethora of services including video consultations, sharing of medical records, an online prescription service and a mental health space. This app has been endorsed by the government and its use has grown exponentially over the pandemic, providing affordable healthcare access 24/7 to people in the Philippines.

Vodafone

Vodafone are exploring different areas of digital healthcare, believing that digitization of healthcare is key to saving lives. For example, they have expanded their remote monitoring solutions to enable safe assisted living in the home through intelligent monitoring systems and advanced IoT connectivity. Additionally, using their Redbox technology, they have built Europe’s first 5G clinic on the medical campus of of Universitätsklinikum Düsseldorf (UKD) in Germany, enabling expert surgeons to virtually assist in operating theatres, for example. To further drive their healthcare offerings, Vodafone have strategically partnered with Deloitte to harness their life sciences expertise and advance the adoption of connected healthcare across their markets.

Conclusion

Accelerated by Covid-19, telcos are increasingly making moves and expanding their reach in the healthcare industry to facilitate low-cost access to quality care. These offerings range from digital health apps and remote monitoring to connected ambulances and smart hospitals tied together by the aim of digitizing the healthcare industry to enable access to care at all times and in all places.

Telcos are diversifying their healthcare offerings, exploring multiple ways to achieve this vision, which ties in to our concept of the Coordination Age, as well as working with various partners who bring vital expertise and knowledge of the industry to increase the credibility and effectiveness of telco solutions.

Author: Izzy Montgomery is a consultant at STL Partners, specialising in digital health and network transformation.

Digital health insights pack

This 24-page document will provide you with a summary of insights from our healthcare research and consulting work:

  • Key trends in the healthcare industry
  • The role for telecoms: applications and business models
  • Strategies for success: where to start
  • How STL Partners can support you

Request the free digital health insights pack by clicking on button below:

Robotic Process Automation (RPA): 6 use cases in healthcare

​​Robotic Process Automation (RPA): 6 use cases in healthcare​​

Robotic process automation, a driver of efficiency, has the ability to have a significant impact in the healthcare industry. This article outlines 6 use cases of RPA in healthcare which will save the industry time, money and resources, as well as improving the quality of care that many patients receive. Telcos should look to harness their credibility in data and automation to drive the use of RPA in this industry.

Robotic process automation, a driver of efficiency, has the ability to have a significant impact in the healthcare industry. This article outlines 6 use cases of RPA in healthcare which will save the industry time, money and resources, as well as improving the quality of care that many patients receive. Telcos should look to harness their credibility in data and automation to drive the use of RPA in this industry.

What is RPA?

Robotic Process Automation (RPA) seeks to both mimic and go beyond human capabilites to increase efficiency and reliability in the performance of a wide range of tasks, many of which are often mission critical. McKinsey has estimated that, in the majority of occupations, 30% of tasks could be automated. Corroborating this is KPMG who predict that the global RPA market is worth around $5 billion.

RPA can provide benefits to a variety of stakeholders. In general, it streamlines processes, preventing inefficiencies and enabling economic growth. In a range of industries benefits include:

RPA use case

However, in the healthcare industry, RPA is yet to be widespread. This is due to a varied combination of factors including challenging logistics, initial deployment costs and hesitancy due to the failure of rushed trial implementations. Nevertheless, there is significant opportunity for the expansion of RPA in the healthcare sector. This will benefit patients, improving their access to and quality of care; healthcare professionals as their time and resources are shifted away from monotonous tasks towards more critical duties; and healthcare services as costs can be streamlined and funds allocated elsewhere.

Whilst not an exhaustive list, below are outlined six key RPA use cases where there is obvious room for increased automation and efficiency in the healthcare industry, and thus where perhaps solutions should be focused towards.

Use case 1: electronic records and data sharing

Increasingly, health data is coming from different sources, whether it be from GPs, third party portals, insurance companies, appointment scheduling systems or health record databases. In many countries, it is not centralized, and it would require significant resource to streamline all health data sources into one. RPA can play a key role in reducing health resources dedicated to menial admin tasks, by efficiently processing patient records. It has been estimated that the healthcare industry collectively spends $2.1 billion on poorly executed and error-prone manual data management. Thus, RPA is a welcome solution to increase the efficiency and accuracy of data management in healthcare.

Additionally, RPA can play a role in ensuring electronic data sharing in healthcare adheres to privacy protocols, by regulating permission and access rights, for example. In addition, RPA introduces fast detection and response times to cyber-attacks, preventing data loss or corruption. This strengthened cyber security enabled by RPA will be attractive to healthcare providers, particularly those who have suffered from security breaches in the past, such as the NHS who lost an estimated £92 million after being targeted by the WannaCry ransomware attack in 2018.

As an example, Dorset, a county in the southwest of the UK, has implemented RPA to allow GPs to have quick click through access to medical records using a robot called Wyman.

Use case 2: appointment scheduling

Closely linked to electronic records, appointment scheduling is a time-consuming task which could be performed by RPA. For example, RPA could greatly increase efficiency by scanning incoming data and setting up appointments based on relevant data such as symptoms or suspected diagnosis, doctor availability, location, or most convenient time. Not only would this relieve healthcare professionals of laborious scheduling tasks, but it would also likely increase patient satisfaction.

For example, in the UK, the East Lancashire NHS trust now saves around 83,600 sheets of paper from using RPA to deal with scheduling appointments for the average 15,000 referrals they receive each month. This frees up time equating to two and a half full time employees, allowing vital resources to be redirected.

Increasingly, new solutions are emerging to facilitate appointment scheduling such as India-based start up Feat Systems which automates appointment creation, reminder and cancellation with an accessible and integrative RPA-enabled web-app.

Use case 3: billing, payments and claims management

RPA can also be used to streamline the settlement of health payments, amalgamating various costs such as tests, medicines, food and doctor fees into a simplified payment. This quick and accurate processing of bills into an invoice saves time for health professionals and can prevent billing inaccuracies. Furthermore, RPA can be programmed to send personalised reminders to patients if there is a delay or issue in payment.

Similarly, RPA can be used to process time consuming health claims. It takes 12 seconds for an RPA solution to check the status of a health insurance claim compared to 85 seconds for a human, meaning that one robot could do the work of 9 full time employees without error. Furthermore about 25% of claim denials are due to admin errors such as registration and eligibility issues, and with each claim costing about $118, an RPA solution can reduce this unnecessary financial loss. A hospital in the US has done this, implementing RPA to check the eligibility of payors and identify any missing information that was slowing down the processing and payment of claims.

Use case 4: tracking assets

Tracking assets such as ventilators, defibrillators and medical pumps has become a particularly pertinent issue for hospitals during Covid-19 as hospitals globally have been stretched for resources. It has been estimated that nurses spend around 6,000 hours a month searching for lost equipment, taking up vital time. Furthermore, failure to effectively locate assets can harm patient experience of care, increasing wait times and delaying vital treatment.

RPA, combined with digital sensors and cloud-based control panels can: ensure assets are easily located by staff; check that equipment inventories are accurate and up to date; monitor the condition of assets to ensure they are replaced when faulty.

For example, the company Intellibuddies is providing hospitals with check-in and check-out RPA to ensure effective stock and equipment inventory management. Another example of this use case comes from hospital management start up T-Systems in the UK which is using RPA to develop various health solutions, one of which includes the tracking the time and location of organs to ensure seamless transplant operations.

Use case 5: data analytics and diagnostics

Healthcare providers unavoidably collect significant amounts of data from patients each day which often goes untouched. RPA can be used to analyse this data, generating valuable insights and analytics, individually tailored to each patient. These insights can be used to aid healthcare professionals and improve patient experience of care with more accurate diagnosis and treatment. For example, a hospital in Dublin has invested in RPA to input and analyse patient disease codes and results. The automation of this process alone saves the hospital roughly three hours of work a day and also provides useful patient insights.

In addition, RPA can be integrated into rapidly growing telehealth services to carry out online screening processes and aid the diagnostics process, aiding health services that are stretched due to Covid-19. For example, Canadian telco Telus, partnering with Babylon health, have created a smartphone app that utilises RPA and AI technology to effectively support patients.

Use case 6: post treatment care

RPA can also be used to manage post-discharge care, allowing patients to confidently recover, after leaving a health facility, at home. For example, RPA could be used to send reminders to patients about important actions such as taking medication, taking nutrients, or following a meal plan. Additionally, RPA could nudge patients to measure necessary data, such as blood pressure, and then the RPA could notify healthcare professionals if conditions were worrisome in any way. In this way, the RPA acts as a form of communication between the hospital and the home. This can improve patient experience, enabling at-home recovery, and also relieve pressure on hospital beds for healthcare providers.

Conclusion

Telcos should be interested in this opportunity not only due to the potential to expand access to quality healthcare, but because it will also help telcos consolidate their role in the healthcare industry. It will provide them with new forms of revenue streams as they play in this part of the value chain, beyond simple connectivity, facilitating this automation of medical processes. RPA is driven by automation, AI and analytics and so telcos should harness their data and privacy credibility and hone their skills in AI to drive significant progress in healthcare RPA.

Author: Izzy Montgomery is a consultant at STL Partners, specialising in digital health and network transformation.

Digital health insights pack

This 24-page document will provide you with a summary of insights from our healthcare research and consulting work:

  • Key trends in the healthcare industry
  • The role for telecoms: applications and business models
  • Strategies for success: where to start
  • How STL Partners can support you

Request the free digital health insights pack by clicking on button below:

Get in touch with our Digital Health Leads

Amy Cameron

Senior Analyst & Digital Health Research Lead

Darius Singh

Senior Consultant & Digital Health Practice Lead

5 innovative telehealth apps for 2022

​​5 innovative telehealth apps for 2022​

Demand for telehealth apps has been increasing rapidly in recent years as healthcare continues its move towards digitisation, with COVID-19 only accelerating this trend. 2020 alone saw 90,000 new telehealth apps added to the market, so finding a niche is crucial. Below we outline 5 telehealth apps which exemplify different potential niches in the market.

1. Bold Health

Health area: Digestive health

End user: Patient

Payer: Consumer

Bold health is the one-stop shop for gut health, from diagnoses to chronic and acute condition management or just personal health and wellness. Gut health has been at the forefront of medical research in recent years, as has personalised medicine, meaning bold health is in a perfect position to capitalise on these opportunities.

74 % of Americans live with digestive health symptoms including diarrhoea, gas, bloating and abdominal pain which can impact quality of life and even lead to significant disruption of daily life. It’s estimated that these issues account for around $136 billion of annual medical expenditure in the US. Furthermore, we are beginning to learn more about the broader health effects of digestive health, for example, the composition of the gut microbiome being a significant contributory factor for anxiety and depression. It’s known that dietary interventions can affect the composition of the gut microbiome, as can pharmaceuticals such as probiotics. Research even indicates that probiotics may be just as effective in managing these illnesses as psychiatric drugs, but this hasn’t been reliably confirmed yet.

Bold health recognises the need for a holistic approach to this multi-faceted problem and therefore offers a range of services, including a personalised care plan, virtual 1:1 consultations, diet & nutrition plans and weekly therapy sessions. The user is likely going to have to make long-term lifestyle changes so this support is going to result in better outcomes. Bold health currently has 3 apps including the Zemedy app which assists in the management of IBS and costs $49.99 / 3 months for just the self-management programme or $169.99 / 3 months for the programme and coaching.

2. Genome Medical

Health area: Genomics

End user: Customer

Payer: Customer/ insurance

Genome medical is a telehealth company which gives customers insight into their genetic risk factors through genetic testing and virtual consultations with experts. This service isn’t only beneficial for people with a family history of inheritable disease but also people looking to be proactive about your health. As we learn more about genetics and the effects on our health, the insights will only get more useful, and results can be revisited in the future.

Naturally, people with a family history of inheritable disease would be most likely to use this service. If an individual feels they may be at risk of developing a heritable disease, genetic testing can estimate the probabilities of onset which then allows preventative action, monitoring and treatments which could ultimately save lives. Additionally, many genetic diseases have variants which may respond differently to treatment so knowing which variant you have/likely to have may be vital.

However, insights from genomics can also be used for general health and wellbeing, an example of this is personalised nutritional advice. A single mutation of the MTHFR gene alters the structure of an enzyme involved in crucial body functions including folate metabolism. This is the process by which vitamin B9, which we get from food or supplements is converted into methylfolate (activated vitamin B9) which is needed for many body functions like making neurotransmitters, maintaining healthy red blood cells and preventing heart disease. An individual with this mutation would therefore be at a higher risk of disease and general poor health but this risk could potentially be mitigated by increasing their intake of folates to account for this reduced metabolism.

Genome medical simplifies this process for the end-user through virtual consultations to discuss the results of the test, giving informed insight into the results. Furthermore, the results received could unsettle some people so having a 1:1 conversation with an expert could mitigate this by giving the individual the chance to ask questions. Genome medical also offers a virtual consultation with a genetic counsellor before ordering the test which can also reduce the prevalence of unnecessary testing by ensuring the customer understand the capabilities of the test. Finally, the information gained can also be given to your primary care provider to inform future health care decisions as part of a personalised medicine approach.

3. Getubetter

Health area: Musculoskeletal

Payer: Healthcare provider

End user: Healthcare provider, healthcare user

GetUbetter is a telehealth app for the treatment of musculoskeletal (MSK) injuries and conditions. This includes chronic conditions such as neck and back pain but also more acute injuries. Individuals have access to personalised self-management techniques, exercises and nudges and reminders while having access to 24/7 support, should they need it.

Each year in the UK around 20% of all GP consultations are regarding an MSK problem with MSK constituting the third largest NHS programme budget. Furthermore, MSK conditions account for around 30 million working days lost annually. These figures are only going to get worse with an ageing population living sedentary lifestyles, often with suboptimal diets. The global burden of disease study highlights that neck and lower back pain remain the biggest cause of ill health overall and across age groups.

MSK self-management can increase the rate of recovery and reduce the severity of injuries and conditions, without using up valuable resources in the form of physicians and appointments etc. The earlier and more effective the intervention, the fewer resources will be needed to treat it. This approach is not only good from a functional perspective i.e better care provided, but also from a social and psychological perspective as well. Having 24/7 access will help the patient feel supported and give them more confidence in their recovery. It’s been found that an individual’s psychological state soon after an MSK injury can predict pain and disability many months down the line, even after accounting for the severity of the injury, showing this is an important factor for recovery. Finally, MSK is often part of comorbidities, integration of digital MSK solutions with digital solutions for the other morbidities can increase the overall efficacy of health care.

The Getubetter telehealth app is well placed to tackle this growing issue. The 24/7 support offered allows patients to be treated remotely where possible but allows patients to be redirected to healthcare services if its required, ensuring MSK developments won’t be missed. Additionally, the platform can be integrated across the whole treatment pathway, preventing silos of care. Numerous different individuals and organisations may be involved in the treatment of a single patient with an MSK condition, so having all the recovery data in one place streamlines the process and reduces the likelihood of over treatment. This is especially important for elderly patients who may have trouble keeping track of their treatment regimen.

4. Oncall

Health area: App development

Payer: Healthcare provider

End user: Healthcare provider, healthcare user

Oncall is a telehealth app which provides an end-to-end solution for healthcare providers looking to scale their telehealth offering. Healthcare providers sign up to the service and are assigned an implementation team provided by Oncall to build their telehealth app and launch it on their behalf. Customers pay a monthly fee for the use of Oncall’s platform, on which the app runs, as well as license fees for administrators.

Healthcare is going digital as private providers seek to attract new customers while public sectors seek to increase the efficacy and efficiency of their service. This really isn’t feasible without digitisation, something which has seen relatively slow adoption in healthcare so far. Convenience and trust are the 2 key factors for a successful digital health solution, both for the providers and the patients. Ultimately, the experience needs to be simple and effective to drive increase usage.

Oncall’s solution is convenient during the set up as well as the end use. The implementation team will work with the providers to understand the goals and needs of the app and ensure they are met. They also provide training for the operation and maintenance of the app to the providers’ administrators. Apps are developed in 30-60 days which allows healthcare providers to be flexible and adaptable while ensuring a quality product.

5. S12 Solutions

Health area: Mental health

Payer: Healthcare providers

End user: Healthcare providers

S12 Solutions is a telehealth app for the completion of mental health assessments (MHA’s) in the UK. The Mental Health Act 1983 allows the compulsory admission of an individual to a hospital if certain criteria are met during a mental health assessment (MHA). MHA’s are carried out by at least 2 doctors, one of which needs to be ‘section 12 approved’ meaning they are certified to be experienced in mental health treatment.

Due to the nature of mental illness, individuals often won’t have capacity to agree to treatment or even actively refuse it. An MHA gives healthcare professionals the permission to treat individuals against their will, to ensure their safety. This is, of course, extremely sensitive as the individuals’ human rights are restricted and therefore it is heavily regulated and failing to follow the law can result in massive negative consequences for the healthcare providers. As mentioned previously, doctors with specific qualifications need to be present and specific paperwork needs to be fully completed. The telehealth app reduces the burden of keeping track of the completion of this procedure, as well as reduced the risk of files being misplaced, damaged or stolen.

Furthermore, available doctors may be limited so having the capability to search for available and qualified doctors in the area is crucial, especially as the MHA is time critical. Delays to this process can cause distress to the individual as well as the staff who have limited power to begin treatment. There are also instances where an individual can be held in the hospital against their will for up to 24 hours without a MHA, but after that they can leave which could put their safety or the safety of the public at risk.

S12 solution’s telehealth app provides a platform to simplify and organise the process of MHA’s. Features such as reminders of upcoming/due MHA’s, an ability to search for qualified doctors in the area and clear organisation of files are extremely helpful for mental health professionals. This all translates into better health outcomes for patients and so it’s no surprise that S12 solutions is used by 75% of England’s Mental Health Trusts.

chnologies to transform the healthcare industry into a fully digitised environment.

To find out more information, contact our dedicated Digital Health lead at darius.singh@stlpartners.com, or explore our Digital Health Hub.

Author: Kuba Smolorz is a Consultant at STL Partners, specialising in 5G, edge computing and digital health

Digital health insights pack

This 24-page document will provide you with a summary of insights from our healthcare research and consulting work:

  • Key trends in the healthcare industry
  • The role for telecoms: applications and business models
  • Strategies for success: where to start
  • How STL Partners can support you

Request the free digital health insights pack by clicking on button below:

Get in touch with our Digital Health Leads

Amy Cameron

Senior Analyst & Digital Health Research Lead

Darius Singh

Senior Consultant & Digital Health Practice Lead

Digital Healthcare: Amazon versus the world

Digital Healthcare: Amazon versus the world

At an ominous pace, Amazon, the tech giant which dominates cloud computing, ecommerce and logistics, is turning its head toward the healthcare
industry. A move which is years in the making, its efforts have been accelerated by COVID-19 and its impact on digital behaviours, creating the perfect storm through which Amazon can assert further dominance. But can the telcos play a role? Can they too find their way to healthcare success…

COVID-19 and our health systems

Above all else, COVID-19 has brought our healthcare systems and workers to our collective front of mind. The extreme circumstances forced people to turn to virtual healthcare and telehealth for the first time, resulting in telehealth usage surging 78x between April 2020 and February 2020. Healthcare has traditionally been an industry relatively untouched by digitisation, relying on traditional methods of centralised care and administration. The pandemic has put these systems under extreme pressure and resulted in an acceleration which far outsteps programmes such as the NHS Long Term Plan or even the revolutionary Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH) Plan of 2009.

As the largest public company in the world, Amazon has been gradually turning its focus towards this opportunity. The cloud-computing and ecommerce giant exhibits many characteristics to suggest it will achieve success: it has the financial clout to absorb and acquire exciting new start-ups; it has spent years collecting data from its customers and constructing strict data security procedures the like of which are critical in healthcare; Alexa is already being leveraged as a tool to support surgeons and doctors as they treat their patients in hospital. Perhaps most importantly of all however, new CEO Andy Jassy seems to be continuing his predecessor’s dedication to the industry, providing the executive support which 80% of health system leaders believe to be the most important precursor to success.

Amazon digital healthcare

In 2018, Amazon launched Amazon Comprehend Medical, a service leveraging machine learning against medical text to extract the medical data of its employees. In the same year it also launched Haven with Berkshire Hathaway and JP Morgan Chase. In 2019, the cloud giant then acquired PillPack, an online pharmacy which coordinates and delivers client’s specific medications automatically.

Each of these steps pointed to Amazon’s awareness of the healthcare opportunity, but each has sputtered and stalled since they began. Haven was closed by the three founding companies at the beginning of 2021, and whilst the stakeholders themselves stated their commitment to continued informal collaboration, some external observers believed the failure stemmed from an inability to effectively pressurise healthcare incumbents. A more ominous reading for those wanting to seize the healthcare opportunity was that Amazon was focusing on its own solutions throughout, prioritising Amazon Care over Haven, and treating the latter as an incubator for its own fledgling solutions.

Similarly, after acquiring PillPack in 2019, Amazon predominantly left the remote pharmaceutical company to its own devices. After only 2 years of involvement with the online prescription start-up, Amazon announced their own Pharmacy last year, offering online prescription administration, subscription models and local delivery using PillPack infrastructure, as well as perks for Prime customers. Despite these plays, the giant’s move into healthcare has been slow, emphasising the difficulty companies will face when trying to infiltrate the intricately regulated and infinitely sensitive industry. Amazon’s status as an internet giant fills the majority of consumers with suspicion, a repercussion of their public disputes with governments over monopolies and data security, giving local health systems and institutions an advantage over the global powers.

Other familiar faces are also beginning to show their hand. Walmart are perhaps the most advanced of the other players, with their X-ray and diagnostics, counselling, and other common medical services offerings already being commercially active. Google and Microsoft are also active, though their solutions are more nascent.

The 5 tenets of telehealth

Of the five areas we at STL Partners have identified as representing the strongest opportunity for telcos in healthcare, Amazon are well-positioned for 4 of them. Their existing ecommerce infrastructure and cloud expertise equips them for a large number of applications and services, and their huge financial power allows them to leverage M&A activity to accelerate their access to knowledge, bringing industry experts in-house fast.

Amazon digital healthcare

However, their globalised status is both their strength and weakness, limiting the regional trust and regulatory readiness they can expect, both of which are central to success in healthcare. This creates an opportunity for telcos to claim their own slice of the market-share on top of the partnerships with hyperscalers for which they should be aiming.

1. Personal health management & wellness:

  • The scale of Amazon’s US operation, over 1 million employees, provides them with the testbed for scalable solutions. They launched Amazon Care in 2019 as an internal initiative to provide top quality, digital healthcare to their own workforce. The services packaged into this service has grown over the last 18 months as they have acquired start-ups and built new divisions, leading to an external launch in early 2021, opening up the service for companies and individuals outside of the Amazon brand. On top of this, last year they released Amazon Halo, a wearable consumer device which, alongside a health app, monitors the wearer’s health. Beyond the other offerings in this market, the Halo is able to monitor your body fat as well as the emotion in your voice, highlighting the move towards a more AI orientated psychiatric care. Although Amazon’s official stance is that the Halo is not a medical device, this seems to be more of a bureaucratic move to avoid FDA regulation than anything else.

2. Diagnostics and Triage:

  • In 2018 Amazon launched their Comprehend Medical solution; a machine learning programme which takes large, disordered text-based datasets and “quickly and accurately extract information such as medical conditions, medications, dosages, tests, treatments and procedures, and protected health information”. A simple API call decreases the manual work a hospital is required to process, decreasing costs and increasing accuracy. On top of this, In 2019, Amazon acquired health navigator, a symptom triaging platform as part of their digital health portfolio. The Health Navigator platform provides APIs for telemedicine and other digital health players to integrate standardised processes for documenting patient complaints and care recommendations into their pre-existing solution, increasing efficiency and standardising process across the value chain. On top of these acquisitions, Alexa is also being leveraged in patient meetings and appointment calls to allow healthcare professionals to focus more on the individual rather than on the record of what is being said. Amazon’s cloud expertise means they are well-positioned in this area, with their vast database infrastructure allowing them to offer hospitals a secure and almost limitless solution to their triage challenges.

3. Virtual care and telemedicine:

  • As noted above, Amazon have been active in the online prescription industry for some time, building their expertise first with the acquisition of PillPack before launching their own offering. In this area, Amazon’s comprehensive ecommerce fulfilment infrastructure gives them a significant head start over their core competitors. They are also commercially active in the telemedicine space, leveraging Alexa for smart surgery in experimental operating theatres in a select number of US hospitals. As the most advanced technology in the voice-controlled, AI space, Alexa provides surgeons and doctors with the tool to automate the more administrative sides of their work, reducing the friction of their day-to-day processes.

4. Data & analytics

  • In this area, Amazon’s strengths are perhaps the most obvious. Their cloud computing power, as well expansive access to customer data, provide them with the scalable capability to create population level analytics tools which would be invaluable to healthcare professionals. Their 80 million Prime subscribers all provide them with detailed personal information which can be leveraged to create intricate tools to prevent and predict disease outbreaks and treatment. This area above all else will be where the hyperscalers dominate.

5. Remote monitoring

  • The fifth segment of our digital health wheel is remote monitoring. Here, telcos have the existing infrastructure to succeed, leveraging their network footprint to bring medical monitoring to rural and remote locations. In our research on the potential impact of 5G on the healthcare sector, based on surveys with healthcare professionals to understand efficiency and improved health outcomes they believe different digital health use cases could deliver, remote monitoring came out as by far the most transformative application area. However, the key challenge in remote monitoring is proving the business case, since implementation costs are still relatively high, and proving a negative (i.e. that a patient avoided a hospital visit) is difficult in practice.

Critically, digital healthcare remains, and will remain, a primarily local enterprise. Although Amazon and the other cloud players hold an enviable position in most domains, they are somewhat limited to the US where the majority of their infrastructure and healthcare experiments reside. Telcos are regional enough to already have adapted to the local regulatory pressures and cultural norms, providing a trusted platform from which to expand their health offering. Through our research, STL Partners is exploring how telcos can best capture this opportunity, creating roadmaps and analysing use-cases to help them as they create business units, dedicated teams, and new technologies to transform the healthcare industry into a fully digitised environment.

To find out more information, contact our dedicated Digital Health lead at darius.singh@stlpartners.com, or explore our Digital Health Hub.

Author: Tim Otto, Consultant at STL Partners, specialising in digital health.

Digital health insights pack

This 24-page document will provide you with a summary of insights from our healthcare research and consulting work:

  • Key trends in the healthcare industry
  • The role for telecoms: applications and business models
  • Strategies for success: where to start
  • How STL Partners can support you

Request the free digital health insights pack by clicking on button below:

Get in touch with our Digital Health Leads

Amy Cameron

Senior Analyst & Digital Health Research Lead

Darius Singh

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10 Diagnostic and Triage companies innovating in digital health

​10 Diagnostic and Triage companies innovating in digital health

As the healthcare industry transforms to become more digital and automated, diagnostics and triage will form foundational pillars of next generation care. In the past, STL Partners has highlighted the importance of these elements to the digital health value chain, emphasising the inefficiencies which currently plague our systems and the savings made possible by digitisation of both medical streams. If you would like to find out more about these topics in general, please read this article from our research team.

Below are a few companies which are at the forefront of using technology to improve diagnostics and triage. These topics have developed from mere theories to commercially deployed and successful solutions:

The first group of companies we profile is focused on improving access to healthcare services.

Mendelian for rare disease detection

Mendelian is a UK-based company that helps doctors find undiagnosed patients early. The company “focuses on rare and hard to diagnose diseases which affect 1 in 17 people worldwide” and on average take five years to diagnose.

Its solution, MendelScan, is a machine learning tool that captures disease features from electronic health records across a patient population and matches the patients to published diagnostic criteria for hundreds of rare diseases. A MendelScan report with a list of suspected rare diseases is then sent to the healthcare provider for further action.

In 2020, the company announced a partnership with Modality NHS Partnership to roll out the program throughout Modality’s extensive GP practice network, supporting more than 450,000 people across 45 GP practices.

PingAn Good Doctor to help address the shortage of doctors in China

China has 1.8 practising doctors per 1,000 citizens, compared to 2.6 for the United States and 4.3 for Sweden. One company that is trying to address the doctor shortage problem in China is PingAn Good Doctor- a leading online healthcare service platform in the country. As of the end of June 2020, the number of active users had surpassed 67 million, making it the largest mobile medical application in China based on user coverage. The company has developed an AI system that can diagnose around 3000 common diseases and treatment methods. Moreover, they claim to have achieved 99.6% accuracy rate for the company’s smart triage online consultation system.

Feebris for diagnosing child pneumonia which kills 1mln children because of late diagnosis

Pneumonia is the number one cause of death for children under the age of five globally. Feebris has taken up the challenge of saving around a million children each year who die of pneumonia because they are either undiagnosed or diagnosed too late. The company was set up “to develop ethical AI that improves access to early diagnosis” for children across the globe.

The Feebris platform connects to tools like a digital stethoscope to identify pathological sounds in the lungs using machine learning algorithms. Combining these with other essential symptoms, Feebris identifies pneumonia and determines severity.

The second group of companies we profile is focused on cutting unnecessary healthcare costs.

Healthy.io for remote diagnostics

Healthy.io’s mission is to “transform the smartphone camera into a medical device to deliver healthcare at the speed of life”. The company offers Standardised Digital Wound Management Services that help clinicians make better care decisions using the smartphone camera to accurately capture wounds and analyse their progress. The camera captures the wound size and tracks healing over time from a centralised portal. The wound data can then be shared with the care team and used for reimbursement purposes.

Qure.ai to help with diagnostics

Qure.ai uses AI algorithms for medical imaging to identify and localise abnormalities on X-rays, MRI and CT scans. qXR, one of the company’s products aimed at automatic chest XR interpretation, was trained with over a million curated X-rays and radiology reports, making it hardware-agnostic and robust to variations in X-ray quality. For suspected Covid-19 cases, the tool also interprets X-rays to help doctors classify patients as high-, medium- or low-risk and prioritise testing accordingly. Qure.ai has recently partnered with AstraZeneca to improve early-stage diagnosis of lung cancer and reduce mortality rate in Latin America, Asia and Middle East & Africa regions. Hence, qure.ai is not only set to decrease healthcare costs by introducing efficient ways of diagnosis but to also democratise healthcare by bringing quality diagnostics to underserved populations.

Odin Vision to help treat colon cancer

Odin Vision is an award-winning AI company founded by a team of eminent clinicians and AI experts with the mission to create the next generation of AI-enabled applications for endoscopy. Detecting and diagnosing polyps during colonoscopy procedures is challenging for doctors and studies have shown up to 25% of polyps can be missed. Increasing the detection/diagnosis performance can lead to improved patient outcomes, as a 1% increase in Adenoma Detection Rate (ADR) leads to a 3% reduction in cancer incidents. The technology developed by Odin Vision enables doctors to better detect and characterize diseases during colonoscopy procedures. In a partnership with the NHS, the company’s AI technology will be installed into selected hospitals across the UK to evaluate its impact on patient outcomes and the cost benefits to the NHS.

Doctorlink to help with triage

Doctorlink is the leading provider of online triage to the NHS & insurers. The online triage system enables health providers to efficiently manage demand by directing people to the most appropriate care pathway, including self-help, pharmacy and urgent care. It transforms how doctors manage resources, saving money in workforce efficiencies and reducing administrative burden. Doctorlink assesses the patients’ symptoms online by asking a series of medical questions based on an algorithm built by doctors and tech innovators. According to Doctorlink, the company’s algorithms cover 95% of conditions and provide the most accurate symptom assessment on the market. The company estimates that the tool has the potential to free up 99 million GP appointments and save approximately 3 billion pounds.

PocDoc

PocDoc is a digital health provider which hopes to leverage the ubiquity of smartphones, turning them into personal diagnostic devices able to detect a range of major diseases from a pinprick of blood. Their primary focus is on cardiovascular issues and diabetes.

Crucially, the platform is also able to integrate third-party rapid tests onto it and translate the results in the digital environment, providing follow-on guidance and action. Through a partnership with BioSure they were able to utilise this capability to aid the COVID-19 effort, integrating the rapid tests into their app. As a result, they were also able to provide individual, demographic data was also made available, augmenting the lessons that could be taken and used against COVID.

Corti.ai

Corti provides a voice-based AI platform called Audia, enabling physicians to analyse patient interviews and provide more accurate diagnoses during a medical consultation. Founded in Denmark in 2016, the platform works with video, audio, and text, allowing medical practices to plug into their existing systems in less than a day.

Corti assert that Audia can ensure medical advice is offered 25% faster and with 50% fewer errors, ensuring that patients are triaged in the most efficient and effective manner. In 2020 the company was awarded the Future Unicorn award by the trade unions of the EU who voted it the most likely unicorn company in Europe.

Behold.ai

Behold.ai’s algorithmic technology takes standard chest x-ray information and runs it through a deep-learning system which then detects any abnormalities in the data. Their trademarked red dot algorithm has been trained on over 30,000 CXRs where there are abnormalities linked to lung cancer. The service can supplement the practice of radiologists as they look to provide accurate and rapid diagnoses to their patients.

They have recently been granted government funding to run two clinical trials of their red dot algorithm, allowing them to increase the accuracy of the system as well as adapting it for practical use. It was 1 of 5 organisations to have won this Artificial Intelligence in Health and Care award.

Digitalisation of diagnostics and triage has the potential to provide healthcare professionals with tools to augment their ability to provide efficient and effective care. Automating administrative tasks both reduces the workload on individuals, allowing them to focus on providing adequate care, as well as limiting errors in systems which can lead to fatal consequences. STL Partners forecasts that the digitisation of this area will bring significant cost savings to the industry globally, providing even more value to healthcare that the shift towards telehealth.

Cost savings by application area as a percentage of total annual cost savings – Europe & Central Asia
Diagnostics and triage companies

Source: STL Partners

We estimate that in Europe for example, digital tools for diagnostics and triage will account for >40% of total cost savings derived from digital health applications, deriving over $20bn of savings for the industry in 2030. For operators looking to be successful in the healthcare space, solutions and partners which can address the challenges associated with diagnostics and triage may provide a strong opportunity to deliver value to customers.

Author: Tim Otto, Consultant at STL Partners, specialising in digital health.

Digital health insights pack

This 24-page document will provide you with a summary of insights from our healthcare research and consulting work:

  • Key trends in the healthcare industry
  • The role for telecoms: applications and business models
  • Strategies for success: where to start
  • How STL Partners can support you

Request the free digital health insights pack by clicking on button below:

Get in touch with our Digital Health Leads

Amy Cameron

Senior Analyst & Digital Health Research Lead

Darius Singh

Senior Consultant & Digital Health Practice Lead

​Digital health apps: An entry point for telcos

​Digital health apps: An entry point for telcos

Digital health apps provide telcos an opportunity to enter the healthcare industry by deploying a range of services. This article will outline seven telcos that have started providing health services via apps. Digital health apps provide an opportunity for telcos to grow their revenue whilst simultaneously facilitating more universal access to quality healthcare.

Digital health apps have become a key entry point for telcos into the healthcare industry. Covid-19 has accelerated the digital health app market, and various digital health app solutions such as consultations and prescription management are increasingly being deployed, in part sparked by barriers to face to face healthcare access during the pandemic. This article will outline the various solutions that can be offered via health apps as well as seven examples of telcos deploying these services. It will be shown that digital health apps not only can provide telcos with the opportunity for revenue and growth in the healthcare indsutry, but also the ability to contribute to increasing access to quality healthcare services worldwide.

What are digital health apps?

With Covid-19 driving a 53% increase in the use of medical and health apps over the last two years, it has been predicted that the medical health app market size will reach over $100 million by 2026. Digital health apps vary in scope and thus capability requirements. Broadly, there are currently six key areas that these health apps focus on.

Digital health apps

What is the opportunity for telcos?

The healthcare industry represents a key opportunity for telcos to grow beyond their traditional connectivity role and offer new solutions in both the B2B and B2C space that can provide new lucrative revenue streams. However, it must be noted that these opportunities vary greatly between markets, for example B2C opportunites are much more realistic for telcos in emerging than in developed markets where B2B solutions are more viable but innovative B2C solutions are tough. Digital health apps provide an accessible gateway for telcos into a range of healthcare services. Not only do digital health apps provide potential revenue streams for telcos, but they also enable telcos to adopt a humanitarian role in levelling out inequalities in healthcare access.

Especially as Covid-19 has accelerated the development of digital health apps, more telcos are beginning to provide health solutions via this platform. Below are seven examples of telcos and their digital health app offerings.

Digital health apps

Deep Dives: seven telcos and their health app solutions

Singtel

Region: Singapore
App: Step Up
Launched: July 2019
Solutions: personal health and wellbeing

Info: Personal health and wellness app to promote the population to increase their daily steps off the back of the government’s national steps challenge to tackle diabetes and obesity. After tracking steps, the app allows customers to earn rewards. 10,000 steps a day for a month will earn you 3GB extra of mobile data, with 1GB extra from Singtel’s network rewarded for 5000 steps. Singtel have partnered with other brands to offer new rewards such as $5 Starbucks vouchers, cinema tickets, PUMA sportswear and gourmet coffee vouchers. However, despite a significant marketing campaign in 2019, it is unclear how successful this app has been over the last two years. A lack of a clear update on the app from Singtel perhaps suggests the aforementioned struggle that telcos face in developed markets to achieve growth with new B2C offerings.

HKT

Region: Hong Kong
App: Esmart and Dr Go
Launched: 2016 (Esmart) and July 2020 (Dr Go)
Solutions: personal health and wellbeing (Esmart), consultations, health facility services, prescription management, secure data sharing (Dr Go)
Metrics: Dr Go had 88,000 users

Info: HKT was one of the first telcos to explore digital health apps, with their 2016 Esmart app enabling management of personal and relatives’ health through basic health metrics. Their Dr Go app, launched during the Covid-19 pandemic in July 2020, has seen HKT expand to offer a significantly wider range of digital health solutions. The app allows customers to: access private consultations (costing £35-42), including mental health and psychiatric consultations with specialists; order and manage prescriptions; access records such as medical certificates, referral letters and medical instructions. Furthermore, HKT has stated that its ultimate goal is to tackle healthcare inequality by providing the app as a solution in hospitals. It has already partnered with Gleneagles hospital to help grow this offering.

Telenor

Region: Scandinavia and Asia
App: Tryggi and Tonic
Launched: 2017 (Tryggi) and 2016 (Tonic)
Solutions: remote monitoring, consultations, secure data sharing, health facility services

Info: Telenor began in 2016 by launching the app ‘Tonic’ in its market in Bangladesh with four key components: ‘Tonic life’ giving access to information of how to lead a healthy life; ‘Tonic doctor’ enabling phone consultations with medical professionals; ‘Tonic discounts’ offering exclusive discounts at over 50 hospitals in Bangladesh via the app; ‘Tonic cash’ helping to cover the cost of hospital stays up to four times a year. Telenor then launched its Tryggi App in Scandinavia in 2018 focusing on three elements: mobile workflow, remote monitoring, and smart hospitals. The mobile workflow element allows the secure transfer of electronic documents and records, enabled through a partnership with software company DIPS. The app allows remote patient monitoring of vitals such as weight and blood pressure with a feature that can alert family members if these metrics are alarming. Furthermore, the app is being deployed in Norwegian hospitals to facilitate the secure transfer of data and records. In 2019, Telenor expanded its Tonic app, emphasizing the ‘Jibon’ (Life) stream in India, primarily as a response to Dengue Fever. The app allowed customers to order home tests and also saw Telenor deploy solutions that enabled video and phone consultations and medical advice for 6 cent a minute and unlimited access to advice on leading a sanitary and healthy lifestyle.

Globe

Region: Phillipines
App: KonsultaMD
Launched: 2020
Solutions: consultations, secure data sharing, prescription management
Metrics: Consultations through the app increased 450% in April 2020 and a further 256% between January and June of 2021, undoubtedly influenced by Covid-19

Info: Evolving from a website, in response to the Covid-19 pandemic, Globe expanded KonsultaMD into an app. The app allows 24 access to doctor consultations, including mental health and specialist consultations. It also enables online prescription management and access to medical documents and certificates. The app is managed by licensed doctors and has been endorsed by the Filipino department of health as part of their wider reorganisation of telehealth services due to Covid-19. Access to the app ranges between 15 and 150 pesos per month ($0.3 to $3) from start to group level plans.

Verizon

Region: North America
App: Blue Jeans
Launched: April 2021
Solutions: secure data sharing, health facility services, consultations, remote monitoring
Metrics: Across various industries, not solely healthcare, there were 100 million meetings on the Blue Jeans videoconferencing platform in 2020

Info: The app is primarily aimed at healthcare providers to enable secure and reliable patient management and contact. The app allows the transfer and viewing of electronic health records and also facilitates consultations with patients if required through its videoconferencing solution. This solution was deployed in some NHS hospitals such as St Guy’s and St Thomas’ in Central London in 2020. On a personal level, the app integrates with apple health to enable remote monitoring of key patient health metrics such as respiratory rate. This data can be securely shared with clinicians to aid diagnosis.

Telus

Region: Canada
App: My Care (formerly Babylon)
Launched: The Babylon app launched in 2019
Solutions: consultations, personal monitoring, records
Metrics: Every 30 seconds someone in Canada downloads the app and every 90 seconds a patient sees a doctor via consultation on the app

Info: The app allows video consultations, including access to consultations with mental health counsellors and dietitians. The app also allows the management of prescriptions and referrals. Telus has recently added personal monitoring features to the app, allowing data from activity trackers, wearables and other health apps to be synced and shared securely within the app. In addition, there is an AI symptom checker integrated into the app

Deutsche Telecom

Region: Germany
App: DT Corona Warn
Launched: June 2020
Solutions: secure data sharing
Metrics: Over 24 million downloads of the app by January 2021

Info: Many countries implemented apps to help track the spread of Covid-19, such as the NHS app in the UK. In Germany, Deutsche Telecom took a role in developing an app to track infection chains of Covid-19 alongside the German government. The app relied on secure and accurate data storage and transfer to notify users about possible risks of infection.

Next Steps

These telcos have deployed these digital health app solutions in differing ways, working with various partners and providing a range of services via apps. As the industry is rapidly growing, telcos should look to evolve or begin their deployment of healthcare services and digital apps provide an accessible gateway for entering this industry. However, telcos are still at an early stage in exploring the healthcare industry, with a need to expand and scale current solutions to provide widespread healthcare. To provide effective and holistic healthcare services, telcos will need to go deeper and provide solutions such as device base remote monitoring, inevitably requiring a plethora of partners, to complement their current digital health app solutions that have been outlined in this article.

Author:Izzy Montgomery, Consultant at STL Partners, specialising in digital health.

Digital health insights pack

This 24-page document will provide you with a summary of insights from our healthcare research and consulting work:

  • Key trends in the healthcare industry
  • The role for telecoms: applications and business models
  • Strategies for success: where to start
  • How STL Partners can support you

Request the free digital health insights pack by clicking on button below:

Get in touch with our Digital Health Leads

Amy Cameron

Senior Analyst & Digital Health Research Lead

Darius Singh

Senior Consultant & Digital Health Practice Lead

Telehealth regulations: a turning point

​Telehealth regulations: a turning point

Countries are facing a turning point in the expansion of telehealth, having been left with flexible and fragmented regulations following Covid-19. Regulations play a crucial role in either restricting or expanding access to telehealth services. Not only will this article deep dive into Germany, a pioneer in regulating telehealth, but it will also highlight the key opportunity that telehealth regulation poses for telcos.

What is telehealth?

Whilst the terms telehealth and telemedicine are often used interchangeably, STL Partners understands telehealth to be a form of digital healthcare transcending geographical boundaries by utilizing video and voice communication technology. Telehealth has the capacity to increase the accessibility and convenience of healthcare and thus it has the potential to improve health outcomes for many people.

How can telehealth be regulated?

Telehealth regulations, as well as recommendations and guidelines, vary greatly between countries and can often be unclear and complex. There are multiple strategies that are used at the national, or occasionally federal, level to regulate telehealth services.

 

Figure 1: Telehealth regulations encouraging or restricting adoption

Strategies to expand the use of telehealth can simply include legalising platforms, devices, or mobile applications to facilitate telehealth or going further to incorporate these telehealth enablers into public health frameworks. Financial incentives are also an effective way of advancing telehealth use, paying health specialists the same amount of money for virtual consultations as they would receive for their face-to-face appointments.

As well as refusing to legalise telehealth, other obstructive policies can include: necessitating initial or regular face to face consultations to access virtual services; limiting telehealth to certain services, blocking access to virtual specialist care; preventing access to electronic records or data transfer, inhibiting effective virtual consultations; and blocking prescriptions via digital services.

Unsurprisingly, the Covid-19 pandemic has accelerated the use of telehealth services to varying extents globally. In fact, McKinsey estimate that telehealth use has increased 38 times from pre-pandemic levels. This rapid expansion of telehealth has been facilitated by temporary regulations and the waiving of pre-existing legislation, resulting in a fragmented and diverse landscape of telehealth regulation.

 

Figure 2: Global examples of current telehealth regulations following COVID-19

Source: STL Partners with insights from DLA piper report

Thus, it is clear that Covid-19 has brought about regulatory changes to telehealth in varying forms across the world. Some countries, such as South Korea and Japan appear to remain hostile to permanently easing legislative barriers to accessing telehealth. In contrast, positive changes such as introducing seemingly permanent telehealth incentives, as done in France and the USA, indicate that some countries are looking to expand their use of telehealth.

Now is a crucial turning point for telehealth regulations in many countries, as flexible and temporary forms of legislation in place due to Covid-19 will need to be evaluated. Using Germany, a forerunner in telehealth regulations, as an example, it is helpful to envisage the future of telehealth regulations and legislative changes to ensure a positive, accessible, and secure expansion of telehealth.

Deep Dive: Germany

Unlike many countries which are looking to potentially alter their telehealth regulations due to the experience of Covid-19, Germany had an established regulatory framework for telehealth prior to the pandemic. The progressive German Digital Healthcare Act of 2019 unlocked widespread possibilities for telehealth use. The act made Germany the first country in the world to allow prescriptions, reimbursements, and medical advice through digital apps with eleven currently approved in the country, aiding various issues including depression, sleep disorders and headaches.

Covid-19 has further accelerated telehealth use in Germany: remote treatment has been legalised; it is now mandated that patient records must be available electronically; and, from 2022, e- prescriptions legally must be offered as an option to patients. Furthermore, since the pandemic, medical apps can be given a ‘fast track’ route into the market so that they are available for healthcare professionals to use within 3 months.

These regulations, which actively encourage the use of telehealth services, mean that the mobile medical app market in Germany will continue to grow, by an estimated 23.6% by 2026. The new legislation requires apps be approved by a regulatory body, also allowing telehealth to be effectively integrated into the public health system.

Whilst the German example isn’t the only pathway countries can choose to follow as they look to regulate telehealth services, it serves as a good example of how telehealth can become a trustworthy, convenient, and accessible part of a country’s health system.

What do changing telehealth regulations mean for telcos?

Covid-19 has accelerated the adoption of digital healthcare by at least four years (see this STL report for further details) and the rapid changes in telehealth regulations globally suggest that an exponential increase in telehealth use is imminent. This inflexion point, coupled with operators’ potential advantage to play in this space (trusted and heavily regulated brand, local player, skills in data management and security etc.) makes telehealth an exciting opportunity for telcos looking to go beyond connectivity and instead work across the value chain.

Thus, telcos, particularly those operating in countries looking to expand telehealth use through regulatory changes, should capitalise on this opportunity by building experience and credibility in the industry.

Many telcos have already recognised this potential opportunity in telehealth. Prior to Covid-19 we highlighted TELUS as an innovator in digital health as well as ten other telcos that were exploring the industry. Furthermore, undoubtedly sparked by the pandemic, increasing numbers of telcos are entering the telehealth industry such as HKT launching a new consultative app ‘Dr Go’ and Verizon acquiring BlueJeans to expand its telehealth services, both in 2020.

Author:Izzy Montgomery, Consultant at STL Partners, specialising in digital health.

Digital health insights pack

This 24-page document will provide you with a summary of insights from our healthcare research and consulting work:

  • Key trends in the healthcare industry
  • The role for telecoms: applications and business models
  • Strategies for success: where to start
  • How STL Partners can support you

Request the free digital health insights pack by clicking on button below:

Get in touch with our Digital Health Leads

Amy Cameron

Senior Analyst & Digital Health Research Lead

Darius Singh

Senior Consultant & Digital Health Practice Lead

What is Virtual Care?

​What is Virtual Care?

Telehealth has never been more important than in the COVID-19 pandemic. At the centre of any successful telehealth strategy must be Virtual Care, this article will define what it is, why it is important, what the key challenges are, and how it can improve in future.

​What is Virtual Care?

There are a few different definitions of Virtual Care. At STL Partners we see Virtual Care as being any service that leverages phone / video conferencing / online tools to replace scheduled appointments with healthcare professionals, either GPs or specialised. Virtual Care is just one component of telehealth overall, for example we do not include remote patient monitoring (collecting electronic health data or questionnaires from patients not in a healthcare facility to track patient status).

Virtual Care does not just include patient-to-healthcare provider interaction, but also provider-to-provider interaction. This may include discussing patient diagnoses or reviewing pharmacy prescriptions. Provider-to-provider transfer of health records or patient information is included as well.

Figure 1: Different types of digital health services

Virtual Care

Why demand for Virtual Care is increasing

As COVID-19 has restricted face-to-face meetings, there has been an exponential increase in the need for Virtual Care services. However, it can create great value outside of a pandemic world as well. Patients are able to more easily interact with medical specialists who may be located far away, or perhaps if they just want to seek a second opinion. It is also valuable for patients who may be movement impaired or simply are located far away from the nearest GP.

This can be particularly useful in developing countries where rural communities may be located long distances from healthcare professionals or are unable to travel to a healthcare facility. Tata Communications have launched a virtual clinic service called Gloheal to try and service these communities. People can go to specific stations and communicate with healthcare specialists. Tata provides the whole solution, including IT, connectivity, platform, and the app to the healthcare organisation. There are clear opportunities for telcos in other countries to take on similar business models to service rural communities.

Figure 2: Gloheal’s virtual clinic service provided by Tata Group

Virtual Care

Virtual Care ranges from basic virtual consultations to increasingly more advanced services. Advanced digital tools such as natural language processing to help doctors save time taking notes will bring great value to solutions. AI should unlock lots of new features and Virtual Care services will only continue to become more comprehensive.

Challenges for Virtual Care

The suitability of Virtual Care for different types of consultations or healthcare professionals will clearly vary. COVID-19 has gone some way to demonstrating what type of consultations are more or less suited to Virtual Care. Regulatory barriers have been brought down, but tangible proof points have also been provided to patients and physicians.

Patient experience

It has been said that purely virtual interactions with patients will create too impersonal of a patient experience, however there is little evidence that in-person patient experiences were particularly personal before COVID-19. A study published in the Journal of General Internal Medicine found that 64% of primary care providers and 80% of specialists did not bother asking patients why they came in and they interrupted the patient after a median of 11 seconds. That being said, the need for an in-person patient experience will likely depend on the type of consultation. For example, consultants in psychosexual medicine need to create real emotional and physical connections with patients, whereas many GP consultations can be carried out effectively over the phone. Virtual care will suit certain consultations better than others.

Quality of care

Another concern that is raised is around quality of care, indeed in a survey by Beckers Hospital Review 10% of patients listed this as a concern. There is little evidence to support that this would be the case, and in fact by improving access to care through lower costs and fewer barriers to healthcare provision, Virtual Care will likely increase quality of care. STL Partners estimates that by 2030 rising digital health penetration will save countries roughly $645bn globally (this is an extra $297bn due to the impact of COVID-19). However, as with the need for in-person consultations for patient experience, the suitability of Virtual Care will depend on the type of consultation.

Whilst many issues can be diagnosed using Virtual Care, there are clearly many diagnoses which are not so easy to make. The advantage of Virtual Care however, is that the clinician will be able to schedule an in-person appointment in real-time and will already have an idea of the symptoms and general patient condition which will make the in-person appointment more efficient.

Clinician burnout

Clinician burnout is one way that quality of care may be affected according to some critics, healthcare professionals may be on back-to-back virtual consultations without the natural break between patients that is afforded in face-to-face settings. Now that they are able to work from everywhere there is not the separation usually afforded by the hospital and longer hours may result. However, it is also possible that the opposite is true, able to work from home practitioners will be free of the hassle attached to travel to healthcare facilities or, even more draining, travel to the home of patients. This is more likely to reduce clinician burnout than to increase it. The impact will likely depend on the individual healthcare professional.

Data security

Data security is an area of concern for some people. Instead of sharing personal information face-to-face patients are sharing it over audio or video link, this is potentially less secure. Steps can be taken to reduce this risk including two-factor authentication and encrypted data transmission.

Some of the challenges with Virtual Care can be at least partly resolved by new and developing technologies. Virtual Care in its current form certainly causes understandable concern or doubt amongst some patients. However, as Virtual Care improves this should lessen, and much of this improvement should come through new technologies.

The role of 5G, edge computing and AI

The advent of 5G is cause for great optimism in digital health circles. It should significantly improve the application of Virtual Care. Greater bandwidth and lower latency will allow for much higher quality video streaming. This will be particularly useful for improving how many diagnoses can be made remotely as healthcare practitioners will be able to see higher quality images. It should also improve the overall experience as patients will be less likely to be subjected to distorted audio or video when trying to speak to practitioners. 5G is also more secure than previous mobile technologies so there should be less concern around data security.

That being said, one of the main applications of Virtual Care is to reach remote communities who are located very far from the nearest healthcare practitioner. Whilst they are likely to have 5G coverage in the future, it will be a long time before this happens. Moreover, often Virtual Care is useful for accessing patients who are less mobile, they tend to be elderly and on average have a lower grasp of new technologies. As a result, 5G may not have a large impact on the delivery of some aspects of Virtual Care for a while, but no doubt it can benefit many groups in the short term and these groups will only grow as time passes.

Edge computing is another area that can help with the delivery of Virtual Care. For calls that are at least relatively local to each other (i.e. same city or region) the lower latency can further reduce any distortion to audio or video. It can also ensure health data sent from the patient to the practitioner (e.g. live data from a heart-rate reading) is more real-time, thanks to the lower latency.

Where edge can be particularly useful in digital health in general is with data security. In-person health appointments usually allow health data to be kept in local servers, this is of course complicated when consultations are done from remote locations as in Virtual Care. Edge servers located at mobile stations would allow sensitive health data to be kept local to the stations as opposed to being sent via the cloud to be held elsewhere.

As highlighted previously, AI is another technology which should unlock a lot of new value through Virtual Care. AI technology can help with diagnosis via video link, analysing the feed to pick up signs the practitioner may have missed. AI with access to big data will be able to detect cases with similar symptoms and give diagnoses based on the whole database, as opposed to just the personal experience of the practitioner. Technology that can take notes for doctors (as previously mentioned) will also bring great value in allowing practitioners to concentrate fully on the patient, not only will this improve outcomes, but it also will help to maintain the patient-provider personal connection.

Virtual Care stands to benefit greatly from new technology. As we have seen in the COVID-19 pandemic, it has an increasing role to play in the future of healthcare and new technology such as 5G, edge computing, and AI will only accelerate its ability to cater to more people in an effective way. There are reasonable challenges to its current ability to deal with all cases, but these challenges can be minimised as new technology spreads into new markets. Virtual Care has the potential to permanently change our ability to provision healthcare for those most in need, and it is through the adoption of new technology that this will be achieved.

Implications for telcos

Some operators have recently launched or accelerated their deployment of virtual care services in response to COVID-19, these include Hong Kong Telecom, Globe Telecom and NOS. Virtual Care could provide a good anchor use case for entry into the digital health market for telcos: it is increasing in prevalence due to the pandemic and there is a lower barrier to entry compared with data transformation. Virtual Care therefore, may provide telcos with the tactical opportunity to build a health foundation on top of which they will be able to scale their healthcare businesses.

Author: Matt Bamforth is a Consultant at STL Partners specialising in 5G, Edge computing and private networks topics

Digital health insights pack

This 24-page document will provide you with a summary of insights from our healthcare research and consulting work:

  • Key trends in the healthcare industry
  • The role for telecoms: applications and business models
  • Strategies for success: where to start
  • How STL Partners can support you

Request the free digital health insights pack by clicking on button below:

Get in touch with our Digital Health Leads

Amy Cameron

Senior Analyst & Digital Health Research Lead

Darius Singh

Senior Consultant & Digital Health Practice Lead

Read more about digital health

Webinar

Telcos in health webinar

In this session Amy Cameron and Yesmean Luk looked at the opportunities for telcos in health. As a growing industry, with a national focus and significant digitisation challenges, healthcare is an attractive vertical for telcos seeking to build new revenues beyond core communications services.

Read more

Research

5G’s healthcare impact

This report explores the impact of 5G on the healthcare industry. It illustrates the benefits and example use cases, as well as quantifying the potential efficiency gains, that 5G will enable.

Read more

Research

TELUS Health: Innovation leader case study

Healthcare is an attractive vertical for telcos to address with digital solutions. Although many telcos have made attempts to capture this opportunity, TELUS stands out as an example of the value of a long-term commitment to healthcare. In this case study, we examine TELUS’ strategy in health, evidence of its success, and draw out lessons for other telcos

Read more

10 telco healthcare services

10 telco healthcare services

In our research into the healthcare opportunity for telcos, we’ve outlined the three layers of the value chain they can participate in: connectivity, enabling platforms and services, and applications and solutions.

Here we give some industry examples of how what telcos are doing in each of those layers of the value chain. As illustrated below, in the applications and solutions layer, there are also a range of different business models telcos are adopting. On the B2B side, in yellow, operators can develop or acquire health IT capabilities which they provide to healthcare organisations, or they can act as a channel partner / reseller for other B2B health applications. On the B2C side, telcos can likewise partner with third-party providers and market services to their existing customer bases, usually with some kind of discount attached, or they can develop and launch their own services.

10 examples of telco-led healthcare services

10 telco healthcare services

Source: STL Partners analysis

Of the examples highlighted here, Turkcell and Jio are two particularly interesting cases. Both of them have for the most part developed capabilities internally, although Jio has also started to partner with a growing range of medical services companies to expand its reach.

Turkcell’s hospital IT system

Turkcell has developed sophisticated health IT capabilities across a number of city hospitals as part of public private partnership (PPP). It began developing these capabilities in 2017 with Yozgat and Adana City Hospitals, and has since continued with three more hospitals in 2018 and 2019. By 2019, it had digitally processed more than 10 million patient records.

Key features available so far include:

  • Patient medical record management
  • Patient check-in, appointment and lab result collection kiosks
  • Patient information screens
  • In-hospital patient, staff and asset tracking
  • Hospital CCTV and security
  • Central help desk
  • Service operation centre
  • Analytics on hospital visitor numbers, locations, with customised dashboards for administrators

Turkcell’s ambition is to expand this initial solution into a broad ranging digital health campus solution for hospitals. (See the full presentation to the ITU here.)

Turkcell’s digital hospital campus ambition

Turkcell digital hospital solution

Source: Turkcell

Jio Health Hub

Since 2017, Jio has been developing a health and fitness app, with the aim of providing consumers with a holistic health management solution. Key features included in the app so far are:

  • Booking lab tests and check-ups, including discounts for some services and access to virtual consultations
  • Weight management, diet and nutrition consultation
  • Access to health information
  • Manage and share personal medical records with doctors, family and friends
  • Access a directory of doctors, dieticians, physiotherapists, attendants, counsellors
  • Locate nearby pharmacy and blood banks

The Jio Health Hub was first launched in 2017. Over the following years, Jio partnered with partnered several healthcare providers to expand its services, including iCliniq which brought access to doctors across 60 specialties. However, Jio Health Hub has only really begun to scale since the beginning of the COVID pandemic when the need for digital health services became immediate. So far the app has achieved 1 million downloads, and in June 2021 it began allowing users to book COVID vaccination appointments and download CoWIN Certificates (India’s version of a COVID vaccination passport).

Other telcos’ digital health services

For more detail on the other solutions noted here, follow the links below.

  • Verizon‘s BlueJeans
  • STC‘s connectivity and application enablement solutions
  • Orange-owned Enovacom‘s interoperability solutions
  • Vivo Brazil‘s partnership with Teladoc
  • Telefónica‘s partnership with Tunstall in Spain

 

 

Digital health insights pack

This 24-page document will provide you with a summary of insights from our healthcare research and consulting work:

  • Key trends in the healthcare industry
  • The role for telecoms: applications and business models
  • Strategies for success: where to start
  • How STL Partners can support you

Request the free digital health insights pack by clicking on button below:

Read more about digital health

Webinar

Telcos in health webinar

In this session Amy Cameron and Yesmean Luk looked at the opportunities for telcos in health. As a growing industry, with a national focus and significant digitisation challenges, healthcare is an attractive vertical for telcos seeking to build new revenues beyond core communications services.

Read more

Research

5G’s healthcare impact

This report explores the impact of 5G on the healthcare industry. It illustrates the benefits and example use cases, as well as quantifying the potential efficiency gains, that 5G will enable.

Read more

Research

TELUS Health: Innovation leader case study

Healthcare is an attractive vertical for telcos to address with digital solutions. Although many telcos have made attempts to capture this opportunity, TELUS stands out as an example of the value of a long-term commitment to healthcare. In this case study, we examine TELUS’ strategy in health, evidence of its success, and draw out lessons for other telcos

Read more

Five top strategic questions for telcos exploring a healthcare play

Five top strategic questions for telcos exploring a healthcare play

Through our healthcare practice, we’ve spoken to many telecoms operators about the potential opportunity for them in the healthcare market. We’ve found that there are a few key strategic questions come up most frequently. The answers depend a lot on what kind of telco you are, and what kind of telecoms and healthcare market structures you operate in, among other factors. But there are also some takeaways that apply broadly, which we’ve outlined here.

Five key strategic questions for telcos exploring the healthcare vertical

5 strategic questions for telcos exploring health

1. Why is healthcare an attractive vertical for telcos?

  • It has national or sub-national economies of scale, where every country or even every state/province/region has different funding structures, investment priorities and levels of maturity. While the underlying technology can cross borders, implementation is highly localised as any new solution must fit into existing systems and workflows. Telcos are therefore much better placed than global technology companies to understand and address local healthcare needs and priorities.
  • As a very large sector accounting for between 5-10% of most countries’ GDP, capturing even a small share of the opportunity could make an impact on telcos’ top line
  • It places a premium on security – both in terms of data privacy and cybersecurity – which telcos, as locally regulated companies and often with strong brand reputations on trust, are well placed to address
  • It is relevant to everyone, so investment into improving healthcare outcomes has the potential to create a strong sense of pride and purpose for a telco’s employees and benefit its relationships with government and society.

Despite the arguments for prioritising healthcare, it may not be the right opportunity for all operators. We identify four key areas of consideration for telcos making decisions about vertical prioritisation:

4 main considerations for telcos investing in health

2. Why is now a good time to enter the healthcare market?

  • COVID has given a $300bn boost to digital health globally across four key application areas. Not only has it forced a change in regulations and acceptance among healthcare workers and patients due to social distancing rules, but it will also be a crucial in enabling healthcare systems to cope with backlogs of patients who deferred treatment throughout the pandemic
  • Meanwhile, the level of digitisation in healthcare is low compared with other industries, so there are still many big problems to solve (and therefore valuable business to develop) for healthcare providers and patients
  • 5G will have a significant impact on enabling a wider range of digital health solutions to work well at scale, so building expertise in healthcare applications could provide a road to monetisation (beyond connectivity) for telcos’ 5G investments

3. Where should telcos play in the value chain?

  • Beyond network as a service, which we believe will be table stakes for any telco addressing advanced enterprise and consumer use cases, telcos could offer application enablement platforms and/or digital health applications themselves
  • Over the long term there is significant opportunity for integration across the healthcare system with secure messaging and data sharing between providers and between providers and patients. This will become more significant as the range and scale digital health applications expands over the coming years.
  • However, to play an integration role, telcos must first gain the trust of healthcare providers and patients, and the digital health software and application players working with them. This may be difficult for telcos to achieve without first-hand experience in developing and launching digital health applications (often through acquisitions or partnerships).

4. What kind of roles are telcos playing in the application enablement / data management layer of the value chain?

As illustrated below, most telcos playing a significant role in the healthcare vertical are playing across all three layers (and occasionally even employing doctors and clinicians).

Telcos presence in the healthcare value chain

  • TELUS: Insurance claims processing through its initial acquisition of Emergis (2008), and the development of a health data exchange platform that powers its EMRs and national e-prescription service, and which is provides to telecoms operators entering their national healthcare market other countries
  • Swisscom: National healthcare data hub that harmonises data between patient records (nationally mandated), healthcare agencies, and physicians’ practices (enabled by Curabill and PortX acquisitions in 2012)
  • Orange: Acquisition of Enovacom (2018) which provides software that helps to secure and manage communications between hospitals and their patients
    • 5K healthcare providers in France, Canada, Switzerland, Belgium, UK
  • KPN: Acquisition of e-Zorg (2016) which manages the vast majority of data transfer between healthcare organisations and ISVs in the Netherlands
  • Telstra: Combination of capabilities across its health IT portfolio in pharmacy, hospitals and care homes to create new specific solutions that link between healthcare players, e.g.:
    • Real-time prescription tracking database
    • National cancer screening contracts

See details of these operators’ strategies in our report on Telcos in health: How to crack the healthcare opportunity

5. Is there a B2C play for telcos in the healthcare sector?

  • This is an extremely tough market because it operates at global economies of scale – Google/Fitbit, Apply, Samsung, Ping An Good Doctor, etc.) can tap into huge existing customer bases, and consumer health accounts for a tiny proportion of their R&D budgets so they can afford to try many more things than a telco could
  • However, there may be pockets of the market where telcos could leverage their physical reach and customer bases to carve out a niche. Assisted living is the standout opportunity, although the experiences of leading telcos in health suggests that building credibility in providing healthcare devices and applications to consumers is not a quick win. Telcos should see this as a B2B (for care institutions) as well as a B2C opportunity.
  • For telcos with reach into their national healthcare market, a mid- to long-term differentiator could be the ability to help integrate the global players’ personal health records into local healthcare providers’ EMR systems.

 

Digital health insights pack

This 24-page document will provide you with a summary of insights from our healthcare research and consulting work:

  • Key trends in the healthcare industry
  • The role for telecoms: applications and business models
  • Strategies for success: where to start
  • How STL Partners can support you

Request the free digital health insights pack by clicking on button below:

Read more about digital health

Webinar

Telcos in health webinar

In this session Amy Cameron and Yesmean Luk looked at the opportunities for telcos in health. As a growing industry, with a national focus and significant digitisation challenges, healthcare is an attractive vertical for telcos seeking to build new revenues beyond core communications services.

Read more

Research

5G’s healthcare impact

This report explores the impact of 5G on the healthcare industry. It illustrates the benefits and example use cases, as well as quantifying the potential efficiency gains, that 5G will enable.

Read more

Research

TELUS Health: Innovation leader case study

Healthcare is an attractive vertical for telcos to address with digital solutions. Although many telcos have made attempts to capture this opportunity, TELUS stands out as an example of the value of a long-term commitment to healthcare. In this case study, we examine TELUS’ strategy in health, evidence of its success, and draw out lessons for other telcos

Read more

Quantifying the impact of 5G on the healthcare industry

Case study overview

STL partners works closely with clients to identify and evaluate the impact of new and upcoming technologies on industries. We conduct detailed market analyses and identify the real use cases for the short and long term. This includes primary research with key players in the ecosystem, including end customers, to derive first-hand insights.

Through an extensive research programme, including interviews with healthcare enterprises and telco executives within healthcare, and a survey of >200 healthcare professionals, we collaborated with Huawei to:

  • Identify the realistic 5G use cases within healthcare
  • Quantify the impact of each mature 5G use case on the healthcare industry
  • Promote the potential global savings and improvements to patient outcomes through mature 5G
  • Use case detailing and prioritisation

Strategic marketing services pack

Find out how we can help you:

  • Develop insights-led marketing
  • Position your company as a thought-leader
  • Engage with telco decision-makers

Use case detailing and prioritisation

We worked together with the client, through both research and a series of workshops, to identify the most promising 5G-enabled use cases within the healthcare industry.

  • Built a long list of 5G use cases and their key drivers, as well as the need for 5G
  • Ran workshops with the client to prioritise the long-list down to 3 key use cases
  • For the prioritised use cases, conducted a detailed analysis of the key benefits of the use cases across stakeholder groups – this included an interview programme to healthcare enterprises globally
Example deliverables

Quantification of 5G’s impact on healthcare

Our research also focussed on understanding and quantifying the extent to which these 5G use cases will impact the healthcare industry:

  • We identified key pain points for the healthcare industry that these use cases would address, and subsequently the cost and throughput metrics that the use cases would impact (e.g. number of outpatient visits, time per consultation, number of ambulance calls)
  • Using these metrics, we forecast from the bottom up the global savings to the healthcare industry through these 5G use cases – this included growth and penetration rates across different countries, and was evidenced by a survey to >200 healthcare professionals
  • We calculated both the potential cost savings to the industry, as well as the subsequent increase in patient throughput due to reallocation of spend
Example deliverables

Writing and promoting a co-branded report for our client, Huawei

STL Partners wrote a report aimed at those within healthcare organisations who are responsible for the transformation and digitisation of their industry/their organisations. The content is also relevant to both healthcare application developers/enterprises and telecoms operators with a desire or strategy to explore the healthcare market.

The Report, ‘5G’s Healthcare Impact: 1 billion patients with improved access in 2030’, explores the impact of 5G on the healthcare industry, illustrating the benefits and example use cases as well as quantifying the potential efficiency gains that 5G will enable.

5G in health: An enabler rather than a game changer

5G in health: An enabler rather than a game changer

5GLIVE 5G in health panel discussion debrief

In a discussion with panellists from Altice (Portugal), TIM, BT and Clalit Health (one of Israel’s largest healthcare providers) STL Partners explored the impact of 5G in healthcare (see panel info here). The biggest 5G-specific takeaway from the panel was that the use cases they are focused on over the short term are more dependent on broad coverage of “good enough” networks across national geographies, rather than more powerful networks within hospitals or for healthcare professionals.

Of the use cases discussed only a few more experimental solutions such as using drones for prescription delivery were really dependent on 5G. For most use cases, both the telcos and Clalit Health emphasized that what’s really important is being able to monitor, triage, diagnose and treat patients remotely was the key to improving healthcare outcomes – and this cannot happen without reliable, high quality (4G, fibre) connectivity where the patients live. And without this, digital health solutions will not gain acceptance from patients and doctors.

Digital health use cases discussed with BT, Altice, TIM and Clalit Health

5G digital health use cases

What are the triggers for success?

  • Ability to reach patients: Ensuring that the patients who lack access to healthcare services, or could use remote triage and diagnostics solutions have access to reliable, high quality connectivity to support those services.
  • Gaining acceptance from end users: Nearly all panellists felt that convincing patients and healthcare professionals to adopt new technologies was a bigger challenge than technology, with Lucy Baker at BT estimating that in most projects implementation was 90% of the work, and technology 10%.
  • Co-creation: For both BT and Altice, co-creation alongside the operational staff (clinicians, radiographers, community nurses, care organisations) has been key to their ability to develop applications that solve real problems. BT has recently also created a dedicated healthcare commercial team to work with its customers in this sector.

The impact of COVID?

BT started off its recent healthcare initiatives with more of a 5G focus, developing a remote ultrasound solution used by paramedics out in the field and linking back to specialists in the hospital, providing full video and haptics to enable a remote diagnosis and triage. When the pandemic hit it catalysed an expansion in focus to tackle more immediate needs for remote diagnostics, both in a new temporary COVID-19 hospital and for community care teams.

For Altice, which COVID-19 has likewise proven a catalyst for its latest solution for assisted living, which it is currently deploying with a handful of care organisations providing formal services, but also plans to sell direct to consumers who wish to help elderly relatives live independently for longer. That said, this type of remote monitoring solution remains very new, and Alcino felt that the single biggest way to impact health outcomes would be through better data interoperability and sharing across healthcare systems.

 

Digital health insights pack

This 24-page document will provide you with a summary of insights from our healthcare research and consulting work:

  • Key trends in the healthcare industry
  • The role for telecoms: applications and business models
  • Strategies for success: where to start
  • How STL Partners can support you

Request the free digital health insights pack by clicking on button below:

Read more about digital health

Webinar

Telcos in health webinar

In this session Amy Cameron and Yesmean Luk looked at the opportunities for telcos in health. As a growing industry, with a national focus and significant digitisation challenges, healthcare is an attractive vertical for telcos seeking to build new revenues beyond core communications services.

Read more

Research

5G’s healthcare impact

This report explores the impact of 5G on the healthcare industry. It illustrates the benefits and example use cases, as well as quantifying the potential efficiency gains, that 5G will enable.

Read more

Research

TELUS Health: Innovation leader case study

Healthcare is an attractive vertical for telcos to address with digital solutions. Although many telcos have made attempts to capture this opportunity, TELUS stands out as an example of the value of a long-term commitment to healthcare. In this case study, we examine TELUS’ strategy in health, evidence of its success, and draw out lessons for other telcos

Read more

Digital pharmacy insights

Digital pharmacy insights: Q&A with Phlo digital pharmacy startup

In this article, we relay our interview with Nadeem Sarwar, the founder of Phlo Digital Pharmacy. We speak about business models, COVID’s impact on digital health and the role of telecoms operators.

Insights into a digital pharmacy startup

As countries around the world begin to ease COVID restrictions, STL Partners has been reflecting on the digital health use cases which have surged in growth over the last year. We recently wrote an article on 15 digital health companies to watch in 2021 and now want to deep dive on one in particular: Phlo Digital Pharmacy.

In this article, we relay our interview with the founder, Nadeem Sarwar. As an application provider, Nadeem provides an interesting perspective on business models and new growth areas in digital health. His insights and opinions will be useful to those operating in digital health, as well as to telecoms operations looking for partners in this vertical.

Interview with Phlo Digital Pharmacy

What is Phlo’s business model?

Phlo is a digital pharmacy that allows consumers to order prescriptions online, track the order in real-time and have it delivered within hours on the same day. Phlo originally worked with prescribers and doctor services within the NHS, building custom cloud-based technology that allowed patients to order and manage prescriptions. In this B2C model, Phlo controls the customer relationship end-to-end: the patient orders on the Phlo app and the order is fulfilled by Phlo’s delivery services.

Having built out its business (technology stack, physical pharmacy, and delivery services), Phlo identified value in providing a B2B2C service and now also partners with other digital health players. Telemedicine providers, for instance, are leveraging Phlo’s capabilities to improve their virtual care offering.

Babylon is an interesting example. It provides virtual consultations to its patients and, through integrating with Phlo, is also able to digitally cater to prescription orders. Patients therefore have a seamless experience, receiving their care and ordering prescriptions from within one app.

How does Phlo differ from other digital pharmacies?

Phlo differs from other digital pharmacies with respect to delivery.

Digital pharmacies traditionally use mail order to send prescriptions to patients. While this method of delivery is largely reliable, Phlo believes that it carries an unavoidable risk: as soon as you post an order, you are no longer in control of the end-to-end process. This uncertainty of order delivery, however small it might be, is a deterrent to using e-pharmacy solutions.

This is because prescriptions, unlike the vast majority of other e-commerce items, are time-sensitive: delayed or non-delivered orders can have serious implications on heath.

Phlo addresses the uncertainties of mail order through its on-demand delivery model: patients receive their prescription on the same day and are able to track the order in real-time as it comes from the fulfilment centre to their home (think Uber or Deliveroo). By putting patients at ease and providing them with a certainty of delivery comparable with going to pharmacies themselves, Phlo is knocking down barriers to e-pharmacy adoption.

How has the COVID pandemic impacted Phlo?

The COVID pandemic has impacted Phlo in two main ways: growth and customer base.

To start with growth, there has been a significant increase in the adoption of Phlo’s e-pharmacy solution. This is unsurprising amidst lockdown and social distancing measures: Phlo provided patients with a way to receive their prescriptions safely and securely, without the need to physically go to pharmacies.

The pandemic also impacted the composition of Phlo’s core customer base. Previously, younger consumers – and those typically more tech-enabled – were the main users of Phlo’s services. These consumers are familiar with digital services and are accustomed to procuring products online. The pandemic, however, has widened the age group of Phlo’s users and demonstrated that older consumers – and those typically less tech-enabled – are ready and able to procure digital services.

The pandemic gave this bracket of consumers the push they needed to try online.

Even as the UK comes out of lockdown and in-person services recommence, Phlo thinks that consumer behaviour will not return to pre-pandemic norms: the use of digital services has been normalised and accelerated. For this reason, Phlo expects to retain new users of its services – both old and young.

What do you think about the role telecoms operators can play in digital health?

Telecoms operators could be key partners for application providers.

Phlo’s business model enables it to build trusted relationships with customers: it has a direct path of communication and delivers prescriptions to patients’ homes. This relationship is particularly nurtured with customers who order repeat prescriptions. The question for Phlo is how to provide additional services to its established customer base. Phlo already delivers prescriptions to the patient house, so the natural next step is to provide healthcare within the house. Remote patient monitoring (see our article on a player in this space here) is therefore an attractive venture, although Phlo acknowledges that diversification of services would be achieved through acquisition.

In this new digital health service, Phlo envisages that telecoms operators could be the broker of data in-between patients and itself. Remote patient monitoring relies on numerous devices which record data in different ways (e.g. blood pressure monitor, glucose monitor, heartrate monitor). Telecoms operators would therefore structure this data and make it comprehensible, so that Phlo could then draw actionable insight.

Another role telecoms operators could play in Phlo’s digital pharmacy model is to enable improved real-time tracking of drivers through 5G.

Do you have any closing comments on the digital health space?

Digital health is a huge space and comparable to an ecosystem: it comprises numerous players who fulfil different niches and often work together (think Babylon and Phlo). For this reason, you can’t be all things to all people. Digital health players need to be selective in the area they operate, and strategic with their chosen partners.

What does this mean for telecoms operators?

There is a vibrant ecosystem of application providers who are aware of the need to partner to succeed in digital health. Telecoms operators are strong candidates for partners and can fulfil numerous roles: from connectivity to data brokerage and application enablement to end-to-end solutions.

Entering the digital health space is an exciting opportunity, but one which requires a clear strategy. If telecoms operators are able to select the right partners and target the right niche, there is much to be gained. We have created a tool which maps companies across five digital health application areas. This is a good place to start for telecoms operators thinking about the digital health opportunity

Digital health insights pack

This 24-page document will provide you with a summary of insights from our healthcare research and consulting work:

  • Key trends in the healthcare industry
  • The role for telecoms: applications and business models
  • Strategies for success: where to start
  • How STL Partners can support you

Request the free digital health insights pack by clicking on button below:

Read more about digital health

Webinar

Telcos in health webinar

In this session Amy Cameron and Yesmean Luk looked at the opportunities for telcos in health. As a growing industry, with a national focus and significant digitisation challenges, healthcare is an attractive vertical for telcos seeking to build new revenues beyond core communications services.

Read more

Research

5G’s healthcare impact

This report explores the impact of 5G on the healthcare industry. It illustrates the benefits and example use cases, as well as quantifying the potential efficiency gains, that 5G will enable.

Read more

Research

TELUS Health: Innovation leader case study

Healthcare is an attractive vertical for telcos to address with digital solutions. Although many telcos have made attempts to capture this opportunity, TELUS stands out as an example of the value of a long-term commitment to healthcare. In this case study, we examine TELUS’ strategy in health, evidence of its success, and draw out lessons for other telcos

Read more

Digital Health Market Trends: Modelling Post-COVID impact

Digital Health Market Trends: Modelling Post-COVID Impact

Exploring COVID’s impact on the digital health market and digital health trends

 

Introduction

For the last five years STL Partners has researched the opportunity for telecoms operators in healthcare. We have produced in-depth case studies on leading operators such as TELUS in Canada and Telstra in Australia, and conducted rigorous analysis of the market landscape and key digital health trends, to understand where operators can play across the value chain and in specific application areas.

Our conversations with many other operators globally show that most telcos with an interest in healthcare are sitting hesitantly on the side-lines. They can see the opportunities but are uncertain of the scale and their own ability to grasp them.

STL Partners believes that with the right level of commitment, telcos can leverage their reach and capabilities to help solve the challenges in healthcare in their markets. But the window of opportunity is closing fast.

This new sizing model for digital healthcare reflects the recent impact of the COVID pandemic on the sector, with the goal of identifying the key trends in digital health and the new opportunities presented to operators and others attempting or considering investment in the market.

 

The COVID digital health dividend

The first digital health trend from our analysis is that a four-year acceleration in adoption of digital health solutions during the pandemic will deliver a hidden dividend of $300bn globally by 2030. In the chart below you can compare forecasted global costs across our four modelled scenarios.

  1. No COVID: Total costs of delivering healthcare services, assuming COVID had no impact on adoption of digital health services. The “No COVID” case therefore predicts increased adoption of digital health services out to 2030 as if COVID had not happened.        
  2. Flat digital health: Total costs with no change in adoption rate of digital health from 2019. This flat lines growth in adoption of digital health services, assuming adoption is the same in 2030 as it was in 2019. This is used primarily as a control variable.             
  3. With COVID (real world): Total costs with accelerated adoption of digital health in 2020 due to COVID, including deferred use of healthcare services to maintain social distancing or reduce burden on healthcare providers. Because many of the cost savings from digital health solutions stem from fewer primary and urgent care consultations, real world data showing lower usage of these healthcare services resulted in lower costs of healthcare delivery across the 12 use cases between 2020 and 2022, when we expect “normal” healthcare services to resume.             
  4. With COVID (digital health impact only): Total costs with accelerated adoption of digital health in 2020 due to COVID, excluding the COVID-related dip in use of healthcare services (see With COVID (real world)) to isolate the impact of higher adoption of digital health solutions.          

 

Breaking down cost savings by digital health application

Our digital health market model also breaks down the value across four digital health application areas, focusing on areas that we believe are of greatest strategic importance to telecoms operators. The objective of this analysis is to identify the trends across digital health use cases and identify growth trajectories for different applications

  • Remote monitoring: Use of smartphone applications and IoT sensors to track patient vital signs, habits and other healthcare information/equipment
  • Virtual care & telehealth: Use of digital tools such as video consultations and smartphone apps to overcome time and geographical barriers to delivering healthcare services in primary and secondary care
  • Diagnostics & triage: Use of smartphone applications and AI-enabled tools to assess patient needs and diagnose health conditions more efficiently and accurately
  • Population data & analytics: Use of big data analytics and AI with large national, regional, or cross-provider healthcare data sets to identify at risk patient groups, develop personalised medicine and inform healthcare policy

The chart below illustrates the difference between the With COVID (digital health impact only) scenario with the No COVID and Flat digital health scenarios to illustrate the COVID-triggered cost savings, broken down by application area. While virtual care has probably been the most discussed digital health solution during the pandemic, as healthcare providers and patients all sought to avoid in-person contact, it is not necessarily a big cost saver for all healthcare markets. Virtual consultations don’t eliminate the biggest cost in healthcare delivery – doctors’ time – although in countries with limited access it will drastically improve access to healthcare.

The full version of our model breaks down these application areas into 12 specific use cases, and includes data for 217 countries globally. Get in touch to dig into the data in more detail.

 

Want to learn more about our modelling of the digital health market trends?

The $300bn COVID digital health dividend report

This detailed analytical model of 217 digital healthcare markets shows that the COVID pandemic has accelerated the global market four years ahead of its prior trajectory. Key questions we address in this analysis are:

  • How much has COVID accelerated adoption of digital health applications?
  • What is the value of accelerated uptake of digital health following COVID?
  • Which digital health application areas have been most affected by COVID?
  • Beyond the COVID impact, what is the total potential value of digital health applications for
    healthcare providers?
  • Which digital health application areas will deliver the biggest cost savings, globally and within
    specific markets?

Enter your details below and we’ll send you a free extract of the report.

Read more about digital health

Webinar

Telcos in health webinar

In this session Amy Cameron and Yesmean Luk looked at the opportunities for telcos in health. As a growing industry, with a national focus and significant digitisation challenges, healthcare is an attractive vertical for telcos seeking to build new revenues beyond core communications services.

Read more

Research

5G’s healthcare impact

This report explores the impact of 5G on the healthcare industry. It illustrates the benefits and example use cases, as well as quantifying the potential efficiency gains, that 5G will enable.

Read more

Research

TELUS Health: Innovation leader case study

Healthcare is an attractive vertical for telcos to address with digital solutions. Although many telcos have made attempts to capture this opportunity, TELUS stands out as an example of the value of a long-term commitment to healthcare. In this case study, we examine TELUS’ strategy in health, evidence of its success, and draw out lessons for other telcos

Read more

TELUS Health: Communicating an innovative healthcare vision

Case study overview

The healthcare industry is proving to be one of the most interesting avenues for operators to explore as a way to drive new growth for their businessesHowever, the journey towards success in the industry is not easy and operators must define a clear strategy now to gain future credibility. 

STL Partners’ Digital Health practice area is tailor-made for operators that are looking for a trusted advisor to help them navigate this unchartered territory. See how we have supported our long-time partnerTELUS Health, on its journey to harness the digital health opportunity.  

STL Partners and TELUS Health have a longstanding relationship. Over the years, STL partners has helped TELUS Health to:  

  • Organise and facilitate an event at MWC to engage with potential operator partners while promoting TELUS Health’s Platform and the digital health opportunity for telcos; 
  • Develop a comprehensive whitepaper on TELUS Health’s strategy; 
  • Synthesise key learnings from the TELUS Carrier Health Summit and promote TELUS Health as a thought leader in the digital health space 

Digital health insights pack

Find out how we can help you:

  • Develop insights-led marketing
  • Position your company as a thought-leader
  • Engage with telco decision-makers

STL’s insight, interest, and work on Telco 2.0 provided an invaluable perspective on TELUS’s activity over the last ten years in the health vertical and helps TELUS to work with other telcos internationally in health

TELUS Health

VP

Project deliverables

Organised and facilitated an event at MWC

STL Partners and TELUS Health engaged in a consulting project in 2018. As part of the project, we designed, facilitated, and recruited for an event at MWC that promoted the digital health opportunity for telecoms players as well as TELUS Health’s platform and its journey to success.  

During the event, STL Partners team and TELUS CTO delivered presentations and opened conversations with potential operator partners. Overall, STL Partners recruited 25 participants from various telecom operators who were interested in learning more about the ways operators can engage in the digital health sector.  

Example deliverables

Developed a comprehensive whitepaper

STL Partners wrote an independent case study on TELUS Health’s strategy to:

  • Educate internal stakeholders within the wider organisation on the company’s health strategy
  • Help TELUS communicate its healthcare vision with the telco community as it embarked on its international growth strategy

To produce the report, STL Partners conducted an in-depth interview programme with C-suite executives from both TELUS and TELUS Health. The findings of the report were shared during the TELUS Carrier Health Summit which STL Partners facilitated.

Promoted TELUS Health as a thought leader

In 2019, STL Partners participated at TELUS Carrier Health Summit in Toronto, Canada. As a result, we published a report on the key lessons from the event that might be useful to internal and external stakeholders.

In 2020, STL Partners organised a telco health strategies webinar that featured presentations from TELUS Health and Babylon Health. The event gathered various players from the telecom space and helped promote TELUS Health’s thought leadership among members of the wider community.