4 digital healthcare application focus areas for telcos

In April 2021, STL developed a new sizing model for 217 digital healthcare markets that reflects the recent impact of the COVID pandemic on the health sector, with the goal of identifying the new opportunities and risks presented to operators and others attempting or considering investment in the market.

Our model focuses specifically on four application areas within the digital healthcare space that we believe are most relevant for telecoms operators:

1. Remote monitoring;
2. Virtual care and telehealth;
3. Diagnostics and triage, and;
4. Population level data and analytics.

Within these four application areas, we then mapped out and listed 12 detailed use cases that we believe will have the most significant impact on healthcare delivery and estimated the pre- vs post-COVID penetration of digital health solutions and their impact on patient use of healthcare resources.

In the UK, diagnostics and triage account for by far the largest share of the value in terms of potential cost savings through digital health care. This is because a large proportion of patients attending A&E (accident & emergency) could be treated more effectively and cost efficiently through other healthcare services.

COVID impact on use of healthcare services in triage and diagnostics (UK analysis)


Source: STL Partners

Our forecasts for the potential impact of diagnostics and triage on healthcare costs in the UK are based on a range of supporting research from local digital health players and the NHS. For example, DoctorLink, which provides online and urgent care triage solutions to the NHS, estimates that approximately 4mn out of 25mn individuals who attended A&E in 2019/2020 could have been avoided.

This report and the accompanying database breaks application areas out into seven regions globally, and to country level data for Canada, China, India, UK and the US. Get in touch with the author to see country level data for other markets: amy.cameron@stlpartners.com

Further Research

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