The global market for handheld mobile devices in healthcare is forecast to grow 7 percent this year to $8.8 billion, compared to $8.2 billion in 2009, partially spurred by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, according to a new report from Kalorama Research.
"The ARRA incentives for electronic medical records do not specifically reimburse doctors for devices," Kalorama Publisher Bruce Carlson says in a company statement. "But they are getting healthcare organizations to think about IT purchases, and they are helping to make the argument for better electronic data entry, something that we think will lead to increased sales for devices used to enter data."
Other factors contributing to the higher demand include the aging population, a worldwide shortage of medical professionals, pressure to reduce healthcare costs and efforts to reduce medical errors.
Patient monitoring devices are responsible for 64 percent of the handheld healthcare market, accounting for $5.3 billion in 2009 spending, but sales of "administrative" devices--including PDAs, smartphones, tablet PCs, and inventory and medication scanners--have "exploded" in the past five years, Kalorama reports. The latter segment is expected to top $3 billion this year. "Healthcare workers need to be mobile, and so PDAs and monitoring devices have long been a good fit," Carlson says.