Digital Health

Mary Meeker – Internet Trends Report 2017: The Unstoppable Rise of Digital Healthcare

6th June 2017

It’s that time of year again and Mary Meeker has recently released the latest Internet Trends Report for 2017. Here at Waracle, when a new report is launched every year we sit up and take notice (you can check out the key takeaways from the 2015 and 2016 reports). Mary Meeker is a world renowned analyst and partner with Kleiner Perkins and the 2017 version of the report covers all of the key trends your business needs to get to grips with when it comes to all things Internet related, from the unstoppable rise of digital healthcare to the enormous untapped potential of mobile advertising. The report usually clocks in with hundreds of detailed slides, so we’ve highlighted some of the key trends from the 2017 report that your business will need to digest to stay ahead of the curve. Today, we’re focusing heavily on the digital healthcare aspect of the report, but you can check out some of the wider takeaways from the 2017 report below:

  • There is still a seismic opportunity for brands and marketers when it comes to advertising on mobile devices. The 2017 Internet Trends Report suggests that advertisers are still spending too much resource investing in traditional channels such as TV and Radio. Advertising expenditure in mobile is still proportionally low when compared to time spent consuming content via mobile devices. This suggests there will be huge future growth in mobile advertising platforms and technologies. It’s estimated that Google and Facebook collectively control 85% of all online advertising growth. It’s also envisaged that Internet advertising expenditure will finally surpass TV advertising expenditure within the next 6 months.
  • Desktop usage has not declined to a great extent whilst mobile usage and content consumption has grown rapidly, particularly in the USA where mobile users spend on average more than three hours per day attached to their mobile devices
  • Sales of smartphones and overall Internet penetration growth are both starting to slow down with new growth being driven by smartphone and Internet penetration in developing economies, particularly India and China
  • Online streaming services such as Spotify have enabled digital streaming and music downloads have now surpassed physical sales, providing the music industry with its first revenue growth in 16 years
  • Wealth creation in economies such as China is largely being driven by technology companies where consumers display willingness to pay for livestreaming events. In China, bike sharing usage in particular is skyrocketing
  • In India, declining data costs are driving rapid growth in terms of Internet adoption but the cost of smartphones remains too high which is slowing smartphone adoption rates
  • It’s now estimated that more than 60% of the most valuable technology companies in the USA were established by first or second generation Americans. It’s also estimated that 50% of the top private start-ups in the USA were founded by first generation immigrants
  • The potential for innovation within the digital healthcare sector is accelerating at a rapid pace (this year we’ve focused heavily on the digital healthcare elements of the report and you can check out our detailed findings on the subject below)

Digital healthcare is displaying rapid growth

For the first time ever, the Internet Trends Report for 2017 focused heavily on the rise of digital healthcare. This is somewhat surprising in terms of the extent of the focus on digital healthcare, as it’s not something that has been featured in any capacity in recent years. This year, digital healthcare has proved to be one of the stand-out sections of the report, with Mary Meeker suggesting that technology is having a seismic impact on the entire healthcare industry. Digital Healthcare is becoming an area of increased interest for VC’s and investors, with the total market being estimated at a staggering $3 trillion in terms of overall value. In 2016 it’s estimated that VC’s invested more than $4.2 billion into healthcare related startups (Rock Health). In 2017 the digital healthcare sector continues to grow at an astonishing pace with many VC firms hiring dedicated bio experts (computational biologists and doctors) to guide investment decisions. Many technology firms are already investing in heavily regulated areas of healthcare, creating software tools that focus on fitness, wellbeing, concierge medical data, diagnostic tests and drug discovery. Here are some of the key highlights from the report in terms of digital healthcare:

Healthcare data is shifting to digital

The 2017 Internet Trends Report provides many examples of how healthcare is rapidly shifting from paper based processes to digital. Some of these examples include electrocardiograms and digital blood pressure measurements. These are both of examples of processes that up until very recently were managed via paper. The adoption and usage of electronic medical records is also growing rapidly, with many of these innovative health reform initiatives being deployed under the Obama administration. There has also been a seismic shift in terms of consumer behaviour, with many patients and consumers collecting personal healthcare data via the adoption of wearable technologies and apps.

Consumers are accessing their own healthcare data digitally

Mary Meeker suggests that consumers accessing their own digital healthcare patient records is a relatively new phenomenon. But this shift from paper based processes to digital is largely being driven by pressure from patients rights groups and technology companies. Traditionally, patient healthcare records would have been stored on a USB drive or CD-ROM, but Apple has recently made it feasible for consumers to access healthcare data via smartphones and tablets. Historically, hospitals have had lesser requirements when it comes to data storage when compared with other industries. The 2017 Internet Trends Report highlights the fact that hospital data storage requirements are now on a par with other business sectors as consumer demand for digital healthcare data skyrockets. Mary Meeker estimates that the average hospital will now deal with an average of 50 petabytes of data.

Consumers are ordering a record number of blood tests

The 2017 Internet Trends Report indicated that consumers are now ordering a record number of blood tests and that regulations have not caught up with the relentless growth in this area. The report suggests that in terms of regulatory constraints, ordering tests online is still a grey area, meaning that in the US particularly, companies can avoid federal oversight. These unregulated tests that are developed in labs include such things as a prenatal test for Down syndrome and breast cancer risk test screening. Industry experts have indicated that many thousands of these medical diagnostic tests have never been scrutinised for reliability or accuracy. Mary Meeker suggests that this is about to change in the coming years, as the US government is now in a place to clamp down on one of the medical sectors most controversial loopholes in regards to ordering online tests.

Mobile-based clinical trial recruitment is skyrocketing

There has been huge growth in the volume of clinical trials and big technology companies in Silicon Valley and further afield are now sitting up and taking notice. New mobile based innovations such as Apple’s ResearchKit are now opening up new opportunities when it comes to recruitment for clinical trials. In addition, the shift from paper based processes to digital is now providing data in real-time that was never previously available and this can rapidly accelerate the time it takes to conduct trials and bring new, life-saving drugs and innovations to market in the shortest possible time frame.


As the 2017 Mary Meeker report suggests, the scope for mobile innovation, particularly when it comes to digital healthcare, is enormous. If you’re a business seeking to deploy new mobile initiatives, it’s worth taking the time to digest each of the slides contained in the report in more detail (you can digest the entire report here). If you’re a business investing in traditional advertising channels such as radio and TV, the time to start thinking about mobile advertising is now. There are huge opportunities for businesses making the shift from traditional advertising mediums to mobile where consumers are now spending most of their time. Similarly, if you’re involved in the digital health and care arena, the scope for future innovation is practically limitless.

If you’re seeking alternative ways of caring for your users and supporting your professionals using digital health or care and innovative technologies (including mobile app development, IoT or app optimisation), contact Waracle today and start the conversation with us.

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