Home health technology market to skyrocket

The number of consumers using home health technologies globally will grow from 14.3 million in 2014 to 78.5 million by 2020, according to market intelligence firm Tractica.

Home health technologies allow providers to remotely monitor patients with chronic conditions, improve care for elderly people and conduct virtual visits with a physician. At the same time, home health devices and applications are taking advantage of improved residential broadband and growing smartphone use to help consumers manage their own health and wellness.

Rising healthcare costs, aging populations and a rise in the number of people living with chronic diseases are among the factors driving this market, according to the report; however, regulatory issues, data security and privacy, and technology interoperability and integration issues remain barriers to growth.

Medical monitoring, diagnosis and treatment are expected to be the largest application market during this timeframe, while remote consultations, eldercare, and health and wellness will be key segments as well, the report says.

The Tractica report refers to a push to reduce costs among the market drivers in the United States, however, in a telemedicine survey by REACH Health, the 233 professionals polled said improved care was their primary motivation rather than saving money.

The global market for patient-monitoring devices is also expected to grow, surpassing $22 billion by 2018, according to a report published by MarketsandMarkets.

However, it's not clear that home monitoring saves money. A 12-month research project from the Mayo Clinic and Purdue University failed to find significant savings with home telemonitoring over usual care among older adults with multiple chronic conditions.

And in studies from the British government, telehealth failed to produce gains among patients with heart failure, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease or diabetes more cost effectively than standard care and produced no significant improvements in reported quality of life.

In addition, many people still don't have the broadband speeds required for health IT and telemedicine. Under a recently updated Federal Communications Commission standard, nearly 7 million New Yorkers, for instance, don't have the 100 Mbps determined to be the minimum for healthcare in the National Broadband Plan.

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