Eileen Tanghal from In-Q-Tel moderated the panel on the rise of digital health, featuring Novartis and Qualcomm-founded dRx Capital’s Rana Lonnen and Black Opal Partners’ Tara Bishop.

Rana Lonnen, managing director at dRx Capital, the medical technology fund formed by pharmaceutical firm Novartis and mobile chipmaker Qualcomm, and Tara Bishop, founder and general partner at healthcare-dedicated venture capital firm Black Opal Partners, provided an overview of the booming digital health sector.

“There is a lot of activity in the digital health industry, not only deals and rounds but also IPOs, consolidation, M&A and added value being created across the sector,” said Lonnen. “Digital health has become a must-have, a great competitive advantage for every company, despite the challenges around scalability and interoperability.”

Black Opal Partners’ Bishop added: “We have seen a deep transformation in the way we provide healthcare services, through the development of devices able to monitor every aspect of our health and the widespread adoption of telehealth and virtual care that can be delivered to a greater number of patients at a lower cost.”

Describing the main factors behind this development, Bishop said: “Covid has been not just the most transformative pandemic in our lifetime but also the most transformative experience in the healthcare space, an incredibly powerful catalyst able to accelerate and spread the adoption of telemedicine and digital health.”

Taking a glance at the coming years, both Lonnen and Bishop forecast strong activity and further expansion across the digital health space. Lonnen said: “Looking forward, I expect a lot of activity in the mental health space, increasing efforts in decentralising healthcare and moreover an even stronger focus on the shift that we have recently seen towards a patient-centric healthcare where everything is built around the patient and their needs, not only in the healthcare space but also at the intersection between the healthcare and the consumer markets.”