A diverse range of market research organizations and consulting firms have made projections on the size of the digital healthcare market and its future growth.
The work in estimating the market size cannot help but have its limits, and it is especially difficult in the case of digital healthcare, for the market is still in its initial stages and most companies tend to be startups, and therefore data for each company is hard to find.
Thus, instead of data on the size of the market, in many cases, we determine how ‘hot’ this industry is based on the scale of VC (venture capital) investment that can be objectively tracked. Companies like Rock Health and Startup + Health regularly present their data on the extent of funding.
In the process of collecting information on FDA regulations, I came across an interesting piece of data. I am sharing it because I think it reflects the current state of the digital healthcare market.
The data is related to AliveCor, known as the portable EKG device. To those who are interested in digital healthcare, AliveCor is considered to be a leader in the industry and is mentioned in related books, articles and lectures repeatedly. Currently, the 3rd generation of products is on the market.
How many devices of this well-known product have been sold? My guess was over 100,000 devices, and my acquaintances, when inquired, gave a similar reply.
Last February, there was an incident in which the app that runs with the AliveCor EKG failed to function properly, and since this app received FDA approval as a Mobile Medical App, the FDA ordered a recall. Of course, AliveCor fixed the problem without difficulty and there were no major problems. However, on the recall order, the number of actual users of the AliveCor EKG app on iOS was revealed.
The content of the order is the same as above (the link is here) and the actual number of users of the app is shown to be 5,600. Since it is impossible to use the AliveCor portable EKG without the app, the number of users of the app is considered equivalent to the number of current users of the portable EKG device.
This is the number of users using the most recent version at the time (version 2.1.2), and there may be more people who are using the previous version. However, in September 2014, a new app embedded with the function for diagnosing atrial fibrillation was launched, and afterwards, another that was embedded with the function for differentiating between normal states and uninterpretable states. From the latter half of 2014 to the beginning of 2015, the app for AliveCor had gone through revolutionary change. Given that this function was probably useful to AliveCor users, it is not a far claim to assume that the majority of users upgraded to the most recent version.
In addition, while the 1st and 2nd generation of AliveCor products are available only for iOS, the 3rd generation of products is availableintended for both iOS and android. Thus, one must take into account the fact that this number excludes android users of the 3rd generation of AliveCor products. Also, there may be those who purchased AliveCor but stopped using it after a few months.
However, even if we assume that only 10-30% of all those who purchased AliveCor are current users of the device. The total units sold of the AliveCor EKG device amount to 18,000~60,000 devices. If we apply the unit price of $150-200 per device (consider the fact that the unit price of the 2nd generation of AliveCor products is $200 and for the 3rd generation of products is $75), the total revenue for AliveCor up to the present is estimated at $2,700,000~12,000,000. If we consider the fact that AliveCor launched its products in March of 2013, we may estimate its sales over the past 2 years at $1.3~6Mil.
Of course, we must consider the fact that the market is still in its early stages, but that one of the most promising products in the world’s largest digital healthcare market that is the U.S. has sales of this level reveals a great deal on the digital healthcare market. In particular, AliveCor is a B2C product that the consumer needs to purchase without insurance coverage, and this shows that doing business in digital healthcare targeting general consumers not an easy feat.