This week's Insider News includes stories on wellness trends to watch, how digital health innovation can help seniors age in place, and a drop in vaping among U.S. teenagers.
CB Insights found wellness companies garnered $4.6 billion in funding across nearly 500 deals during the first half of 2020, down 24% and 16% YOY, respectively. However, companies developing fitness tech or mental health solutions drew substantial attention during this period. In addition, the mental health space attracted the most funding and deals out of any wellness category, aggregating more than $1 billion across 106 deals in H1 2020. The report identified four investment themes across wellness during the first half of the year, including:
- At-home tools designed to enable consumers to do more from their homes;
- Wellness solutions emphasizing community are emerging as consumers look for connection online;
- Wellness categories from skincare to baby food are continuing to emphasize sustainability, though the report noted COVID-induced economic uncertainty may set back the trend as consumers seek cheaper products and routines; and
- Companies across all wellness sectors are fostering inclusivity by targeting specific demographics that may be otherwise overlooked.
Digital health technologies will play an important role in helping seniors age in place, a report from Rock Health predicts. It notes that although 77% of people over the age of 55 say they want to age in place, only 50% believe they will. To meet these challenges and opportunities, senior care needs transformative innovation through digital health solutions.
Despite cultural stereotypes about Baby Boomers, many actually utilize technology in their day-to-day lives. More than 75% of respondents aged 55 to 65 own smartphones, download and use apps, according to the report. When it comes to using health-related technology, however, fewer than 40% of respondents aged 55 to 65 have used a health care app. More specifically, while about 60% of respondents in that age group have had a virtual care phone call, less than 30% have used video calls, text messages or picture messages for a virtual care appointment.
COVID-19 has played a role in accelerating older adults' desire to age in place. That acceleration can be attributed to increased use of telemedicine and fears surrounding the safety of nursing homes. The authors identified several spaces that offer potential opportunities for digital health developments, including technology targeting loneliness and social isolation, services that address the social determinants of health, devices that connect patients with accessible health care, and programs that support caregivers.
Big drop reported in vaping by U.S. teenagers from AP News
The results of a CDC survey of middle and high school students show a decline in vaping use over the past year. Nearly 20% of high school students and 5% of middle school students had recently used electronic cigarettes and other vaping devices at the time of the survey. During the previous year, those numbers were 28% and 11% respectively, making for an estimated 1.8 million school kids who no longer vape.
Health officials attribute the decline to negative publicity around vaping, awareness campaigns, price increases, and sales restrictions, including an age limit of 21.