This article discusses the health and economic benefits of slowing aging through digital health solutions and FinTech. It highlights personalized preventive medicine, successful companies in the "Digital Healthy Longevity" space, and the role of FinTech in financing and scaling longevity interventions.
Welcome a bright perspective on aging: ‘longevity dividends’. The concept represents health and economic gains from successful efforts to slow the biological processes of aging. Living with diseases is expensive. On the other hand, living in great health could bring prosperity to our society. But why should we believe that our destiny can be rewritten for the better?
An important concept in preventive medicine is the prevention paradox, which describes the situation in which effective public health interventions that benefit the population as a whole provide minimal benefit at the individual level. However, with the advent of personalized medicine, the approach to prevention is going through a paradigm shift.
Personalized preventive medicine, using tools such as genomics, proteomics, and other precision diagnostics, allows interventions to be tailored to individuals based on their unique genetic and health profiles. This personalized approach has the potential to overcome the prevention paradox, as interventions can be highly targeted and therefore potentially more effective at the individual level, while at the same time improving population health outcomes by identifying those at greatest risk and applying preventive measures accordingly.
Translating population-level interventions into personalized interventions is therefore an important goal of longevity medicine. This translation, like any major transformation, faces barriers. To better understand how we can support this translation, in a recent study, coauthored with Tobias Kowatsch, Ph.D., we examined the most funded companies in the field of longevity and analyzed how we can digitally scale health interventions.
Our study aimed to identify companies with ‘Digital Healthy Longevity” offerings and systematically analyze them with a Business Model Navigator, an analytical framework to dissect the "what, who, how, and value" of each company. We searched for these companies in financial databases such as Crunchbase and Pitchbook.
Our findings show that successful scaled-up companies align incentives between patients and payers by using digital health data to improve the transparency of financial returns. In addition to that, our findings show that these companies are developing digital health platforms for a wide range of users, as opposed to specific demographics and diseases.Overall, we found that the major attributes of their success are transparent incentives for all stakeholders along with a wide range of users.
Leveraging FINTECH for the Success of Digital Health
Based on our research on digital health businesses focused on longevity, we have compiled a list of companies that use various FinTech solutions to expand and succeed.
ALAN – Clear incentives through an on-demand payment solution:
ALAN, a startup from France, innovates on-demand payment solutions and offers many health insurance applications that put the user experience first. Alan provides return-on-investment metrics for illustrate the benefits to companies. The next typical target customer is a payer, such as a health insurer; in such cases, digital health companies want to integrate them into their customer channel so that care is easy from the outset to the reimbursement.
BETTERFLY – Benefits all through complementary currency and insurance products:
Chile’s startup, BETTERFLY, is innovating complementary currency and insurance products that personalize life insurance coverage. They also contribute to aligning incentives among stakeholders. Unlike other companies that focus on cost reduction, BETTERFLY captures societal motivation and provides benefits for both users and payers, such as life insurers.
Now more than ever, FinTech plays an important role in venture-building.Access to funding through crowdfunding platforms such as LIFESPAN.IO and FUNDMY.AI aims to spread investment risks and use collective knowledge to identify promising long-term projects. A growing decentralized autonomous organization like VitaDAO is also committed to promoting longevity through the use of blockchains to ensure security and transparency in funding and community governance.
To summarize, digital health healthcare is undergoing a paradigm shift with the advent of longevity medicine, and FinTech can add tremendous end-to-end value: from financing to medical interventions to scaling. The time to look at FinTech for Longevity is now. The place to start is here, and you don't need to look any further to impact our society by enabling the “Longevity Dividend.”
1Longevity Business Researcher at the Centre for Digital Health Intervention
ETH Zurich and University of St. Gallen, Switzerland.
2Gerontology and geriatrics researcher at Leiden University Medical Center, The Netherlands.
3Olshansky, S.J. (2021) ‘Longevity Dividend’, in D. Gu and M.E. Dupre (eds) Encyclopedia of Gerontology and Population Aging. Cham: Springer International Publishing, pp. 2986–2991. Available at: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-22009-9_397.
5Mekniran, W. and Kowatsch, T. (2023) ‘Scalable Business Models in Digital Healthy Longevity: Lessons from Top-Funded Digital Health Companies in 2022’, in. Workshop on Best Practices for Scaling-Up Digital Innovations in Healthcare, pp. 609–615. Available at: https://www.scitepress.org/Link.aspx?doi=10.5220/0011778400003414.