25-Apr-18

The Impact of Digital Health

Triple Point’s Impact EIS Service, launched in March 2018, aims to generate both financial returns and EIS reliefs by investing in growth companies that make a significant positive difference to society. The Service looks to address the gap in funding for fast-growing, inventive businesses and focuses investment on four business areas - the environment, children & young people, inequality and health

In the health sector, UK growth companies are driving change primarily via exciting innovations in the new area of digital health. 

Digital health is the convergence of information, technology, people and connectivity to improve health and care outcomes. Generally, it enhances the efficacy of established interventions rather than operating on a standalone basis.  Examples include remote monitoring of patients, video consultations, mobile apps ranging from consumer fitness to professional medical services, the analysis of data to improve clinical decisions and the digitisation of patient records. 

The digital health field is producing a proliferation of high potential businesses. 

One business uses machine learning to diagnose cancerous melanoma from photographs of patients’ skin. Dermatologists are in short supply in the UK, so the new tech speeds up the diagnosis of risky moles by reducing waiting times. The service can also be deployed by GPs or private health companies to screen out non-malignant cases, saving the time and cost of hard-pressed specialists.

Dramatic change is also afoot in the prevention and treatment of Type II diabetes. There are 15 million people at risk of diabetes in the UK alone, and the illness costs the NHS £6bn per year. Five companies recently won the first tender for an NHS digital prevention programme. One of those winners combines digital techniques with human interaction to help patients that GPs have deemed particularly at risk of diabetes. The digital aspect involves patients using both a digital scales and a fitness tracker that communicate with a smartphone app allowing the participant and their dedicated healthcare professional to track progress. The app also facilitates interaction between the patient and their peer-group and the healthcare professional. The dermatology and the diabetes innovations are both backed up by academic research papers that confirm their efficacy.

The UK’s population of over 65-year olds is expected to grow 5 times faster than the working-age population in the 10 years to 2024, leading to concerns about a potential increase in the shortage of home care provision for the elderly and infirm. Fortunately, a raft of new companies are deploying online solutions and smart algorithms to help the care industry into the 21st century. The Triple Point team have met with a number of digital platform providers seeking to match care seekers with care providers. The improved efficiency from such platforms is likely to allow capacity utilisation in the sector rise from its current 85% to over 90%, meaning that both that existing resources can meet more demand and that better profitability could attract new resources into the sector.

Digital health is one of a number of new fields that Triple Point’s Impact EIS has identified that can both offer investors attractive financial returns and generate significant social impact.

Risk Warning: Your capital is at risk. There is no guarantee that target returns will be achieved and investors may get back less than they invested. Tax rules and reliefs are subject to change.

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