Report foresees a boom in wireless telehealth by 2012

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.

For additional details about the wireless telehealth market:
- see the eWeek story
- peruse the report's table of contents