Consumer methodology: Accessible, easy and inexpensive
The healthcare sector has traditionally had higher barriers of adoption when it comes to technology, given the sensitive and risk averse environment of patient treatment . In recent years, however, there has been a greater emphasis on developing and incorporating technology into the infrastructure of the sector. In light of the pandemic, there has been a huge increase in the need for healthcare solutions that are accessible, easy and inexpensive to consumers. There has been clear acceleration in key areas such as:
- Telemedicine: the usage of which has increased 100 x times  in the US from March to April, and across the EU, regulations are changing, making it more readily available
- Remote patient monitoring (Rpm): with a transition to value-based healthcare, 88% of healthcare providers are now investing in RPM solutions 
These, coupled with other areas of IT, are providing a diverse range of opportunities for investment, with particular emphasis on innovative technological solutions that bring value to consumers.
While the market has been growing for some time, the increased demand for remote access to healthcare during the pandemic has meant a huge acceleration in investment activity. In the first quarter of 2020 there was as much deal activity for telehealth start-ups as there was for all of 2019 and digital health companies gained 5% of sector deal share with VCs in the same quarter . This increase in appetite, originally motivated by Covid 19, looks to continue as the market has been changed irrevocably, with technology and healthcare going hand in hand.
Given the clear appetite and resilience of healthcare and HIT in particular, valuation in this area has not only maintained pre-Covid figures but there has been uptake to those assets unaffected, with the average deal size increasing in the US by 46% . This performance demonstrates the resilience of HIT investment in this time, but also the future proofed aspect of these assets.
Whilst this new-found momentum is both socially and economically beneficial, it does come with new areas of risk, including;
- Data protection: with a clear focus on data management and analysis, we believe that there is a real need to mitigate against data leaks and there will be a need for strong privacy policies. This should also vary from country to country with particular disparity between the US and EU
- Traditional healthcare: We expect that new technological developments will ultimately impact more traditional healthcare companies and it will be key for them to develop or acquire technological skill sets, or risk obsolescence
- IT strategy: As traditional healthcare and HIT come together, we believe that IT strategy including smooth adoption and integration will be an essential part of the process. With as much as 40% of value in healthcare tied directly to IT strategy, it is a crucial aspect to consider for M&A success 
With this in mind, the M&A process will need to carefully weigh the potential for post-closing issues in relation to both data privacy and IT systems. This should be taken into account when considering both price and post-close integration .
A key aspect of overcoming barriers to adoption for HIT will be government support. From Covid alone, we can see key policy changes that help further embed and advance areas of HIT - Germany, for example, adjusted its Digital Healthcare Act to allow for reimbursement for telehealth usage . France, similarly, enacted reimbursement across a range of digital healthcare initiatives, with particular focus on AI .
This support and solidification from governments opens the market for software and HIT platforms, which had previously been addressing smaller, more complementary areas of medicine . The changing regulatory landscape from governments can also have huge influence on healthcare systems and may help to mitigate risk around the data processing and handling when it comes to technology .
We expect that regulation will continue to change at pace in order to match the climate, resulting in likely heightened levels of scrutiny and focus on HIT platforms. Compliance and regulatory representatives will therefore need to be even more closely involved in each phase of M&A, in order to ensure there are no policy or process disconnects .
Overall Covid-19 has been a catalyst for an already growing HIT arena - the essential need for healthcare on a new platform has meant that the subsector has grown rapidly in H1 2020. Technology is becoming more and more integrated in how healthcare services are delivered and investors should watch for key innovations in the space in order to capitalise on this movement.
Whilst the uncertainty and instability remains in many industries, it is clear that not only is HIT providing short term value, but it is also helping solidify future asset groups and trends in the sector. We anticipate new investment opportunities in varied and innovative areas as we move towards a more technological approach to a traditional sector.