Patient Engagement Market Insights

Published: December 5, 2023

Introduction

The digital health sector continues expanding rapidly, with patient engagement solutions gaining prominence. In recent years, the market experienced robust double-digit growth, driven by the increasing adoption of technology in healthcare fostered by the COVID-19 pandemic. With a market size reaching USD2.1 billion in 2022, the patient engagement market is expected to continue its upward trajectory, reaching USD3.8 billion by 2027.

Propelling this growth is an injection of government funding in many geographies, the drive to address many of healthcare’s challenges (e.g. long wait times and staffing shortages) with technology, and the demand from patients to be able to access healthcare services more efficiently. Patient engagement solutions can also support efficiency gains through value-based care and care management programmes. Governments worldwide are likely to recognise the benefits of digital health, particularly patient engagement, to healthcare delivery. As a result, more government funding and incentives will likely become available.

Patient engagement is a notoriously dynamic market, shaped by innovation and the evolution of technology. Below, we outline the top trends and disruptors facing the vendors today.

Trends

  • The healthcare industry is transforming towards personalised care and active patient involvement. Patient engagement solutions are leading this change by allowing providers to deliver customised care, incorporate patient feedback, improve patient activation and involve patients as key partners in their healthcare journeys. This shift improves patient outcomes and promotes a patient-centric approach to healthcare delivery. 
  • Numerous countries, such as the UK, France, Denmark, Saudi Arabia, and Norway, developed national healthcare applications. These apps offer various functionalities, including appointment booking and provision of educational information that can be considered patient engagement capabilities. Since people often prefer a dependable, free, and widespread healthcare solution, most people opt for national healthcare apps instead of specialised health apps. 
  • To improve patient care, healthcare systems require a comprehensive platform that integrates with EHR, provides personalised outreach, and complies with security guidelines. Relying on multiple one-point solutions can create complexity and redundancy, hindering scalability and maintenance. Integrated platforms will prevail, with each facility using a single solution. The NHS app in the UK is a great example of this, combining multiple platforms into one solution that varies by region depending on the backend provider. 

Disruptions

  • Gen AI has the potential to revolutionise patient engagement by enabling personalised, timely, and data-driven interactions between healthcare providers and patients. This technology equips patients with relevant information and helps healthcare professionals provide more efficient and effective care, improving patient outcomes and satisfaction.  ChatGPT has recently passed a simulated clinical informatics board exam, suggesting that with further innovation and improvement, it can offer advice to patients via patient engagement solutions. However, whether AI vendors would partner with patient engagement providers or launch a standalone product is unclear. You can read a free Insight I wrote on the gen AI healthcare ecosystem around Big Tech to learn more about generative AI in healthcare.  
  • EHR vendors are one of the largest threats to the standalone patient engagement vendors. Healthcare IT buyers increasingly seek to consolidate more of their IT under their EHR vendor and are only willing to look beyond if there is a compelling reason to do so. EHR vendors can disrupt the patient engagement market by leveraging expertise in healthcare data management, interoperability, and existing relationships. By creating innovative solutions, EHR vendors can enhance the patient experience, improve outcomes, and drive the evolution of healthcare delivery, displacing current patient engagement vendors.  
  • Big Tech companies can potentially disrupt the patient engagement market by introducing innovative, user-centric solutions that empower patients to take a more active role in their healthcare journeys. These solutions improve access to care and patient experiences and contribute to better health outcomes, ultimately reshaping the way healthcare is delivered and engaged. Amazon is adding video telemedicine visits in all 50 states to a virtual clinic it launched last Autumn as the retail giant takes a deeper step into care delivery.

To succeed in the evolving patient engagement market, vendors should develop comprehensive, customisable, and user-friendly tools that are easy to access and offer a suite of solutions, enabling additional features to be rolled out promptly rather than focusing on providing only one solution.  

With increasing competition in the market as the larger players begin to consolidate and as EHR vendors take an aggressive approach to grab market share, smaller vendors need to partner with other vendors or independently roll out additional features in a timely manner. This will allow them to close gaps in their offering and provide a comprehensive and robust solution that will be easy and cost-effective to deploy.  

As consumerisation and shared decision-making change the healthcare delivery system from episodic and reactive to preventative, spanning the whole lifetime, patients seek more customisable, personalised services. Generative AI is poised to disrupt the market by enabling tailored approaches to each customer through precision medicine. Patient engagement is one of the markets where it will have the most immediate change. Hence, vendors should look to integrate generative AI into their offerings to gain a competitive advantage, or at least not fall behind. 

Market Share by Region 2022 vs 2027  

Americas is estimated to have the largest share of the patient engagement market, with the USA alone accounting for ~50% of the world total. North America saw high double-digit growth over the last few years, driven by the COVID-19 pandemic. The growth is expected to slow down compared to the pandemic era; nevertheless, it will remain positive as healthcare networks battle long waiting lists and staff shortages. Given these factors, it is estimated to grow at ~12% CAGR, reaching USD2 billion in 2027.

EMEA is the second largest market, representing 25% of the total market and is forecast to increase at ~13%. The impact of national and regional digital health funding initiatives is expected to impact growth in the medium term, especially in Western Europe.

Asia is emerging as a high-potential market for patient engagement solutions. Asia’s patient engagement market is dynamic and diverse, with variances between countries and geotype (urban/rural) within countries. With rapid urbanisation, increasing healthcare expenditure, and a growing tech-savvy population, the market in Asia is forecast to experience significant growth of 13.5%. It will increase its share from 19% to 20% in the forecast period.

As part of its latest Patient Engagement report, Signify Research assessed the drivers and barriers for the patient engagement market, with examples of the three highest impacts outlined below:

Top Three Drives and Barriers for the Patient Engagement Market

Drivers

Governments are driving the adoption of patient engagement solutions by providing financial support and policy frameworks that incentivise healthcare organisations to invest in these technologies. This financial backing encourages healthcare providers to allocate resources to adopt and implement patient engagement technologies. Additionally, government initiatives often have regulatory requirements or quality metrics that push healthcare organisations to prioritise patient engagement. As a result, healthcare institutions are increasingly leveraging government funding and adhering to these initiatives to enhance patient-provider interactions, improve care coordination, and ultimately deliver better patient-centred care. Significant financial investment is being made to improve hospital IT infrastructure in the UK, Germany, Italy, China and Japan. The time taken for post-COVID government funding in many countries, such as Germany’s EUR4 billion Hospital Future Act (KHZG), to trickle down has proved frustrating for vendors. However, 2023 will be the year that vendors will finally begin to benefit from the funding.

Shared decision-making drives the growth of patient engagement solutions by fundamentally altering the patient-provider dynamic in healthcare. In recent years, patients have increasingly sought to assert control over their health and become active partners in their healthcare journeys. This shift in mindset and expectations led patients to proactively collect their health data, seek medical information, and actively engage with healthcare providers. Shared decision-making aligns with this desire for autonomy and involvement, incentivising healthcare institutions to adopt patient engagement solutions. These solutions provide the digital infrastructure to facilitate informed discussions, shared information access, and real-time communication between patients and providers. As patients continue to prioritise their role in decision-making, adopting patient engagement solutions becomes a strategic imperative for healthcare organisations looking to meet these evolving patient expectations and ensure patient-centric care.

Precision medicine has led to the realisation that healthcare should be customised to each patient’s unique genetic makeup, medical history, and preferences. This shift towards personalised care has created a strong demand for patient engagement solutions supporting collecting, analysing, and sharing personalised health data. Patients now expect to actively participate in decision-making processes related to their personalised treatment plans, and patient engagement solutions offer the means to facilitate this level of involvement. These solutions empower patients to access and understand their genomic and clinical data, collaborate with healthcare providers to design customised treatment strategies and monitor their health progress in real-time. With the increasing prominence of precision medicine, healthcare organisations are compelled to adopt patient engagement solutions that can seamlessly integrate into this paradigm. This alignment with the principles of precision medicine drives the growing adoption of patient engagement in healthcare, ensuring patients receive the personalised care they need and promoting better treatment outcomes.

Barriers

The patient engagement market is characterised by extremely high fragmentation, with over 100 vendors present only in the US. The reason is three-fold:  

  • The market offers a wide array of capabilities, and while vendors are creating platforms to provide more integrated and comprehensive offerings, there is an abundance of players focusing on providing best-of-breed one-point solutions 
  • The end-user further segments the market, and while some solutions only focus on a specific type, others are attempting to cater for varying demands and preferences by providing customisable solutions 
  • Patient engagement practices and solutions vary significantly from one region to another. Healthcare systems, regulations, and patient preferences differ globally, leading to regional fragmentation 

High market fragmentation is a significant obstacle to adopting PE solutions. This fragmentation has two critical implications.  

  1. Numerous healthcare firms within a single country result in an overabundance of options for HCPs. This often leads to small contracts, different product demands and the inability to scale a business around a patient engagement solution. While competition can be healthy, the abundance of substitutes on the market makes it difficult for any patient engagement solution to gain a significant market share.  
  1. Diverse healthcare systems and practices across different countries also add to market fragmentation. When expanding into new international markets, patient engagement solution providers must often build solutions tailored to each country’s unique healthcare landscape. As a result, the complexity and cost associated with customised solutions for each international market can be a significant barrier to entry.  

The healthcare sector, relative to many other industries, grapples with the formidable challenge of storing vast amounts of highly sensitive personal data. This inherent characteristic amplifies privacy and security concerns, profoundly hindering the adoption of the solutions. Patient engagement solutions in healthcare face a challenge due to stringent data protection regulations like HIPAA and GDPR. Compliance adds complexity to solution development, and data-sharing limitations hinder the seamless exchange of patient information, affecting the effectiveness of solutions. Legal, ethical concerns and compliance costs further complicate adoption. Patients are hesitant to adopt patient engagement solutions, and healthcare organisations are caught between modernisation and data security. Notably, according to the Research1 Foundation, nearly 60% of healthcare providers have experienced data breaches since 2021. The repercussions of such breaches are not merely financial; they extend to the erosion of patients’ faith in the sanctity of their healthcare information, underscoring the urgency of addressing these security challenges. 

Financial and budgetary limitations pose significant challenges to adopting PE solutions in healthcare. Healthcare organisations facing limited resources often give priority to immediate operational needs such as staffing, infrastructure, and equipment, which makes it difficult to allocate budgets for long-term digital initiatives such as PE solutions. This challenge intensifies in the face of a healthcare staffing crisis as spending priorities shift towards addressing critical staffing shortages rather than investing in IT. A volatile political environment, inflationary pressures, and rising energy costs are further constricting budgets globally, impacting healthcare funding decisions. Additionally, healthcare systems face the dilemma of reimbursement models that frequently favour fee-for-service over value-based care. These reimbursement structures may not align with the financial incentives for investing in PE solutions, which primarily focus on enhancing patient outcomes and preventive care. Consequently, financial constraints can deter healthcare organisations from allocating resources to these solutions, as spending priorities may shift towards other critical expenses. 

In conclusion, the landscape of patient engagement solutions is poised for significant transformation. The escalating demand for these tools underscores their undeniable relevance in modern healthcare. However, the immediate future challenges vendors as they navigate the task of proving their worth to providers. Convincing healthcare professionals of the tangible benefits amid their existing circumstances may require strategic efforts. Despite the current hesitations, the inevitability of widespread adoption remains, promising a future where patient engagement becomes a cornerstone of a more responsive and effective healthcare system. 

About Vlad Kozynchenko 

Vlad joined Signify Research in 2023 as a Senior Market Analyst in the Digital Health team. He brings several years of experience in the consulting industry, having undertaken strategy, planning, and due diligence assignments for governments, operators, and service providers. Vlad holds an MSc degree with distinction in Business with Consulting from the University of Warwick.  

About the Report 

The above analysis demonstrates a snapshot of some of the key strategic trends assessed by Signify Research in its Patient Engagement – World – 2023 market report. This report provides a data-centric and global outlook of the Patient Engagement market by capability. The report blends primary data collected from in-depth interviews with healthcare professionals and technology vendors to provide a balanced and objective view of the market. 

About the Digital Health Team  

Signify Research’s Digital Health team provides market intelligence and detailed insights on numerous digital health markets. Our areas of coverage include electronic medical records, telehealth & virtual care, remote patient monitoring, high-acuity clinical information systems, patient engagement IT, health information exchanges, generative AI and integrated care & value-based care IT. Our reports provide a data-centric and global outlook of each market with granular country-level insights. Our research process blends primary data collected from in-depth interviews with healthcare professionals and technology vendors to provide a balanced and objective view of the market.     

About Signify Research 

Signify Research provides healthtech market intelligence powered by data that you can trust. We blend insights collected from in-depth interviews with technology vendors and healthcare professionals with sales data reported by leading vendors to provide a complete and balanced view of the market trends. Our coverage areas are Medical Imaging, Clinical Care, Digital Health, Diagnostic and Lifesciences and Healthcare IT. 

Clients worldwide rely on direct access to our expert Analysts for their opinions on the latest market trends and developments. Our market analysis reports and subscriptions provide data-driven insights that business leaders use to guide strategic decisions. We also offer custom research services for clients who need information that can’t be obtained from our off-the-shelf research products or who require market intelligence tailored to their specific needs. 

More Information 

To find out more:
E: enquiries@signifyresearch.net
T: +44 (0) 1234 986111
www.signifyresearch.net