Almost exactly seven years ago, The Wall Street Journal reported that a company, valued at $9 billion and promising to put vast health knowledge in the hands of everyday consumers everywhere, was lying. It was Theranos, now globally famous for its downfall.
Fast forward seven years, and an article published in the Journal of Medical Internet Research assessing the clinical robustness of digital health start-ups would suggest there is still a great amount of work to do. Of the 224 companies reviewed, almost half (44%) had a clinical robustness score of 0. Additionally, almost 15% (32) of these companies made clinical claims. This indicates that “despite the hundreds of digital health companies targeting the myriad of needs across the care continuum, clinical robustness and public communication of claims remains low across much of the sector.”
As the article authors succinctly put it: “These findings may suggest a disconnect between marketing and evidence.”
At Johnson & Johnson Impact Ventures, a fund within the Johnson & Johnson Foundation, our Impact Framework aims to tackle these challenges by cultivating shared accountability and actioning scrutiny of our portfolio, our impact and ourselves.