The Rise Of On Demand Healthcare


When you think about the hottest startup or innovation sectors, one may naturally think of artificial intelligence, Cloud computing or robotics. And you wouldn’t be wrong. But one you might be surprised to hear is right up the top of that list is Health, and specifically on demand health.

In a revealing study by Accenture, covered in this Forbes article, the growth of the on-demand health sector is second only to ride-sharing when it comes to attracting investment. Investment in on-demand health services is projected to reach $1 billion in 2017, up from only $200 million in 2014. According to Accenture, “healthcare is the fastest growing on-demand sector , representing one-sixth of total U.S. funding from 2010 to 2014.”

There are a number of factors fuelling this growth, not least of all the general rise in “virtual consultations” in the primary care space, which alone is expected to grow by nearly 25% a year for the next five years – an increase from 2.7 million this year to 5.4 million in 2020.

None of this of course surprises us, as we’ve experienced the rising interest in live video interaction from the healthcare industry ever since we first launched OpenTok more than five years. But now it seems three major trends have combined to create this major increase:

  1. The rise and rise of on-demand: while some areas of the on demand ecosystem didn’t quite live up to the hype, there is no question consumers now expect a level of responsiveness and availability from service providers, including healthcare.

  2. Health and wellbeing: perhaps best illustrated by the quantified self movement, the digital health sector in the US is growing across a range of categories, from wearables to analytics and data.

  3. Video is now mainstream: In a recent survey TokBox found almost 90% of Americans aged between 18-55 have communicated via live video, and that live interactive video usage has doubled since 2013.

It’s therefore no surprise, in that same survey we found health was the single most popular use of live video engagement outside of video chatting with family/friends. If these trends continue – and there is no reason they won’t, America’s $3 trillion health industry is set for a major shakeup. And clearly investors agree.

To learn more about Embedded Communications in healthcare, access this free white paper: Embedded Communications in Healthcare.