The difference between digital health and Medtech can be confusing. Do these terms refer to different things? Are they synonyms? Is there really a difference? This article questions the difference between digital health and Medtech in an attempt to understand where the two intersect.
Digital technology is infiltrating every aspect of our lives, including healthcare. Digital health is defined by its integration with medical technologies, whereas Medtech may be less focused on direct patient care. It may seem like these terms are essentially interchangeable; however, the difference between the two may be more nuanced than you would expect.
Although digital health and Medtech are both involved in product development that falls under the umbrella of "digital health technologies", there is a distinct difference between them. The overarching term for these medical-related technological products is "digital health technologies", whereas digital health refers specifically to the application of digital health technologies for patient care.
This article will help you understand the difference between digital health and Medtech, while also providing background on each term.
What is Digital Health?
Digital health is an interdisciplinary field that focuses on using technology-based solutions to promote, manage, diagnose, and monitor health and wellness. These technologies may help patients avoid disease, manage chronic conditions, or improve their quality of life.
This definition of digital health makes it clear that it is the application of technology for healthcare purposes. If we were to think about it as a field within healthcare, we might say that digital health addresses the human condition through the lens of technology.
What is Medtech?
MedTech refers to the wide range of medical technologies and products that improve healthcare through technological innovation. This can include devices, tools, applications, and other systems designed to support providers and patients in care delivery and management. It has been called the intersection between engineering and medicine, as it both involves engineering and relies on engineering to advance health care.
MedTech companies may produce a device such as a defibrillator, monitor, or diagnostic tool that is used by providers in patient care settings. They may also produce consumer products designed to support individuals' health and wellbeing, such as the Fitbit or Apple Watch.
Since digital health refers to the application of technology for patient care, what does a Medtech company do? Many MedTech companies would say they produce technologies that support providers and patients in delivering healthcare. This is most often accomplished through devices, tools, or applications designed to improve clinical processes or outcomes.
Additionally, some medtech companies use digital health technologies to improve communication between patients and providers. For example, the Tidepool Loop is a digital communication device that collects data from a continuous glucose monitor and sends it to a user's smart device for interpretation by a caregiver or patient.
Medtech companies may also produce consumer products designed to support individuals' health and wellbeing, such as activity trackers. These products may or may not be designed to support individuals with chronic health conditions.
What's the difference between Digital Health and Medtech?
Digital health is the application of technologies for healthcare purposes, whereas Medtech refers to medical technologies that improve healthcare through technological innovation. I t is important to note that digital health requires the use of digital technologies, but is not the same as digital health technologies.
In some ways, digital health can be thought of as a subset of MedTech. However, the digital health field is very broad and includes many types of technology-based solutions that may support healthcare goals or address patient needs. As such, there are also subsets of the digital health field that might be called digital health technologies.
Some examples of the diverse types of technology-based solutions in the digital health field include: telehealth (remote patient monitoring via telecommunications), mobile apps such as Health eHeart (communication tool for patients with heart disease and healthcare professionals), and data analytics or machine learning algorithms designed to improve disease screening or management.
The term MedTech refers to a much smaller subset of technologies that may improve healthcare through technological innovation. In the recent past, Medtech has been defined as the intersection between engineering and medicine. The types of technology-based solutions produced by medtech companies can include medical devices, diagnostic tools, patient monitoring systems, and consumer health products.
Medtech companies may use digital technologies as part of the design, manufacturing, or communications about their products. However, MedTech products do not necessarily improve healthcare through digital technology. For example, a company that manufactures medical devices might also be involved in digital health if those devices are capable of tracking patient data and communicating it to providers and/or patients. However, not all medical devices available from this company may be capable of doing this or use digital technology to support product functions or to communicate with providers and/or patients.
Digital Health Market Overview:
The global digital health market size was valued at $145,884.3 million in 2020, and is projected to reach $767,718.9 million by 2030, registering a CAGR of 17.9% from 2021 to 2030.
MedTech Market Overview:
The global market for medical device technologies should grow from $605.7 billion in 2020 to $796.9 billion by 2025 with a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 5.6% for the period of 2020-2025.
Digital Health includes many types of technology solutions used for healthcare purposes, whereas MedTech refers to medical technologies that improve healthcare through technological innovation. Digital health requires the use of digital technologies but is not the same as digital health technologies. It's is important to distinguish between these terms, as they have different definitions and applications.