New Institute Vows to Be Watchdog for Digital Health Tech Space

July 18, 2023 by Dan McCue
New Institute Vows to Be Watchdog for Digital Health Tech Space

NEW YORK — A newly formed nonprofit says it will independently assess emerging digital health technologies in a bid to help patients, insurers and health care providers wade through the scores of products coming into the market.

For most consumers, digital health tech — usually meaning either apps or software — is something they came to rely on during the pandemic. That COVID-created demand led to a surge in investment (since slowed) and a steady stream of new health-related products, some beneficial, some not even close.

The Peterson Health Technology Institute aims to “sort over-hyped products” in a bid to bring some clarity and order to the marketplace.

Before it does so, the $50-million initiative will publish the methodology it plans to use to assess new health tech — likely in September — in partnership with the Institute for Clinical and Economic Review, a Boston, Massachusetts-based nonprofit that performs comprehensive clinical and cost-effectiveness analyses of treatments, tests and procedures.

Then, in 2024, it will start publishing reports on specific sectors, like disease types, to talk about and assess the new digital technologies emerging in those areas.

“Technology has the power to transform health care, improving outcomes for millions of Americans while also reducing our rapidly growing delivery costs,” said Michael A. Peterson, CEO of the Peter G. Peterson Foundation, in a written statement. 

“It’s clear that digital tools and artificial intelligence can provide a range of benefits to patients, but we have an inadequate understanding of what works and how much it should cost,” Peterson said. 

“By producing independent, evidence-based research on emerging technologies, the Peterson Health Technology Institute will help improve and accelerate health care innovation,” he added.

Through its evaluations, the new institute will identify and highlight the most promising new digital health innovations and also expose products that are not effectively delivering their stated benefits to patients and the system. 

“As digital health tools replace and augment traditional health care, they should both deliver better health outcomes and improve affordability,” said Caroline Pearson, executive director of the Peterson Center on Healthcare. 

“In order for technology to successfully contribute to the goal of a more effective and efficient health care system, patients, providers and payers need better information about what works,” she said.

By 2030, the global digital health market is expected to reach $1.5 trillion. Over the past decade, investment in digital health in the United States has increased nearly tenfold, to $15.3 billion.

Dan can be reached at [email protected] and at https://twitter.com/DanMcCue

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