Telehealth leads a digital communications boom.

Recent breaches of data in digital health systems have increased awareness about privacy security and raised questions about who is responsible.

Telehealth leads a digital communications boom.

During 2020, coronavirus pandemic has halted the growth momentum for the healthcare industry, but experts believe COVID-19 has provided prospects for success and innovation for healthcare startups.  Billions were invested in digital healthcare enterprises in 2019, with $7.4 billion invested across 359 deals, according to Rock Health, a digital health venture fund.  A strong first quarter showed that 2020 would have continued on that trend, but the pandemic forced investors to slow down.

Nevertheless, digital communications firms are booming in the midst of a telemedicine boom triggered by the pandemic, while firms such as Doctor on Demand are hiring more physicians to meet the virtual care surge. Organizations that have improved in the recent growth cycle are addressing the problems posed by the pandemic. "The story would have continued without COVID since last year, as this was a safe, growing space with much momentum behind it. 

Zweig director of research and marketing at Rock Health, said $3.1 billion invested at the beginning of this year in 104 digital health companies indicates continued growth from 2019, a year that has also seen Google buy Fitbit. The pandemic has not forced all investors to avoid financing healthcare companies, but that there are mixed feelings on how much money will be available this year for startups.

"Some of them still expect to invest capital at the same pace they have in the past," Zweig said. "Others said they're pulling back. "The vast majority of them agree that start-ups in the healthcare sector would have a harder time this year raising capital than in the past. Zweig described the pandemic as a "stress check" for a health-care system that has been improving digital channels in recent years.

Lawrence Byrd, communications API technology evangelist for cloud-services provider Vonage, said many of Vonage 's customers are telehealth providers. Lawrence Byrd added we are seeing a huge expansion of telehealth usage and it's been going really well. Part of what has allowed digital health platforms to succeed is the fact that, according to Byrd, many applications were already designed to meet HIPAA privacy standards.

Panelists said privacy has become a growing issue for people who use digital channels like Zoom. Using "off-the-shelf" products in the education sector has led to threats to privacy and security, Byrd said. Byrd added Tele-industry, we've got the applications far more mature. There are already many effective telemedicine systems in the doctors ' offices and, since they are usually installed in the cloud, they are easy to extend. After the pandemic, it was not easy for all businesses to leap into the race for creativity.

According to Jonah Comstock, editor-in - chief and director of content development with HIMSS Media, home-testing companies such as EverlyWell initially saw an opportunity to produce COVID-19 tests. Initially, the Food and Drug Administration suggested that it would relax constraints on manufacturing samples, but walked it back out of consideration for unchecked samples it reached the market. We had a kind of time to shine, close to telehealth," said Comstock, who said home-testing had already begun to "arrive" before the pandemic. "Eventually, this situation, once all the kinks are worked out, will hurry it into arriving even faster.

According to Travis Holt, CEO and co-founder of BCP Tech, a subsidiary of Brush Creek Partners, there will be a discussion about how businesses will be held accountable for their goods with the use of digital medicine. Recent data breaches, including the one at Equifax, have increased customer concern about privacy security. It has set a precedent for businesses that market digital goods. For example, Microsoft Office 365 buyers agree not to hold the company responsible for use of the product in the terms and conditions.