Digital health lacks proof of clinical efficacy, says Johns Hopkins study

Despite the rapid growth of the digital health sector, many of the offerings provided by companies lack clear evidence of efficacy in a clinical setting, according to a report published in the Journal of Medical Internet Research in June 2022. 

The researchers from Baltimore-based Johns Hopkins compiled a database of 224 digital health companies that had raised at least $2 million in funding and looked into their claims about their products and then tried to match them to clinical trials in which the company was listed as a collaborator. They then used this data to create a clinical robustness score that quantified the amount of clinical evidence for the efficacy of the service.

They found that 44 percent of the digital health startups had no filings for regulatory or clinical trials, giving them a clinical robustness score of zero. Another 15 percent of companies had a robustness score of 1 and 11 percent had a score of 2. There was also a lack of correlation between a company's venture capital funding and its clinical robustness, suggesting an asymmetry between the two realms. 

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