There will be 15 million medical devices with built-in cellular connectivity in use worldwide by early 2012, predicts a new study from ABI Research. Many of these "telehealth devices," as ABI calls them, will aid in the remote monitoring of senior citizens and other high-risk patients, and the majority will be in North America.
eWeek cites the RTX3371 telehealth monitor from San Jose, CA-based Tunstall Healthcare as one example. The recently introduced gadget collects patient vital signs from external wireless devices such as scales and blood pressure cuffs, then communicates the data via a built-in GSM/GPRS cellular module.
Even with this forecast boom, ABI sees lack of reimbursement for such devices as a barrier to greater acceptance. "The industry believes reimbursement for telehealth systems should be more comprehensive and straightforward. Proposed legislation is generating optimism," ABI Research Practice Director Sam Lucero says.