Healthcare wearables to 'flood' market within three years

Healthcare wearables are predicted to become the cornerstone of future digital health strategies--driven by remote patient and population health management--with a big wave of devices hitting in the next two to three years, according to a new Tractica report.

The report predicts that worldwide shipments of wearables will spike from 2.5 million this year to 97.6 million units annually by 2021, according to an announcement.

"Overall we see a flood of healthcare wearable devices entering the market around the 2018 to 2019 timeframe," Tractica Research Director Aditya Kaul told FierceMobileHealthcare in an email. The prediction, however, is based on the industry overcoming two hurdles: federal agency approval and insurance provider approval, according to Kaul.

"Without those it's hard for a healthcare wearable company to scale," he said. "Some companies are already further along this journey and will hit the market sooner. At this point we expect to see an inflection point as these devices start to be seen as trustworthy and reliable devices, good enough to be prescribed by your doctor or healthcare provider, and covered by your insurance provider."

An IDC report projects wearables shipments to hit 110 million by year's end and pass the 200 million mark by 2019.

The Tractica report also details a slew of challenges, including sensor accuracy and perceived consumer trust. However, many wearable devices are not producing accurate results for tracking energy expenditure, FierceMobileHealthcare previously reported.

Kaul cited data protection as another challenge.

"It is a problem that will only get worse, unless hospitals and health data providers start to take security much more seriously," he said. "As the number of devices grows in the market, each tracker or sensor can be used as a malware device to introduce malicious code into the system, as all these devices are connected in some shape or form to the cloud or health data system. It's about securing each of the end points, which becomes increasingly difficult as the number of devices grows."

For more information:
- read the announcement