Babylon Health’s SPAC merger story shows how many of the large providers are no longer providing just software for online consultation tools. The most successful in the sector are no longer looking just to telehealth but to population health management, better workflows and triage, and well beyond.
It’s almost a decade since Babylon launched as a tool in the UK to give patients a video consultation on demand when getting a GP appointment was hard. It still runs this B2C business but is increasingly in a crowded field of play with many cheaper alternatives. It’s still a viable business model in some of the smaller European nations – where many have only just allowed remote consultations and diagnosis – but increasingly is becoming commoditised.
A race to the bottom, as one investor puts it.
That means the digital health players like Babylon who started as pureplay telehealth players are increasingly building extras into the work that they do. Babylon itself has shifted towards integrated care and population health management by collecting patient data and health outcomes. A notable investor under the new $4.2bn Babylon merger with SPAC Alkuri Acquisition Corp is Palantir: a big and, at times, controversial name in data analysis globally.
It shows that interest in digital health, not just in Europe, but globally is starting to hinge on assessing large amounts of patient and clinical data. This has always been sold as a bit of a pipedream but this is the start of telehealth players really moving into the space. One wonders at how population health management, wellness and good data analysis will alter the future of healthcare delivery.
Take Doctolib. It started as a booking platform for France’s independent doctors to arrange appointments with patients, then added a telehealth solution on top. Now it’s working with healthcare organisations across Europe with a desire to get the right patient, to the right place, at the right time using all of the capabilities it has built up so far.
Even Kry, which is Europe’s largest pureplay telehealth player and recently raised $300m, is now looking at adding mental health support into its platform. This includes self-assessment tools and cognitive behavioural therapy.
If you want to survive as a digital health business, the future is not just telehealth – it’s so much more.We would welcome your thoughts on this story. Email your views to Rachel Lewis or call 0207 183 3779.