The role healthcare plays in the 'smart home'

The smart home is moving from being a dream for the future to a reality today--and healthcare will play a vital role in that new frontier, especially in the wake of the Supreme Court's ruling on the Affordable Care Act, according to a new report from Parks Associates. 

A "smart healthcare room" is one of many potential scenarios for the blend of the smart home and mobile healthcare, said Harry Wang, Parks Associates' director of mobile and health products research. 

"[T]here are multiple routes for smart homeservice providers to enter the health-related markets," Wang told FierceMobileHealthcare in an email interview.

In the report, Wang predicts that greater investment in connected health and increasing adoption in smart home and home healthcare tools will drive the smart home-healthcare center market. Currently, 10 percent of U.S. broadband homes feature a smart home product or service, and the figure will spike past 26 percent by 2019, according to an announcement.

"Our report laid out different paths and recommended different strategies accordingly. Working with hospitals and health centers is one such option but some [smart home] vendors might not choose to go that route at all," Wang said. If they do, the commitment requires smart home vendors to have a long-term and deep relationship with healthcare stakeholders, he added.

"They may have to foster new partnerships to build that ecosystem and related business models. Although resource-intensive for this option, the potential payback will be substantial as well--a typical 'no pain, no gain' scenario," Wang said.

Consumers are embracing mHealth at a faster rate, illustrated by fitness band maker Fitbit's lucrative IPO effort and demand for Apple's wearable Watch. In addition, the global wearables market is enjoying its eighth consecutive quarter of growth, with vendors shipping out 11.4 million products in the first quarter of the year, according to research firm IDC. That's a 200 percent spike compared to the 3.8 million wearables shipped a year ago.

Wang also said that the recent Supreme Court ruling supporting federal subsidies for healthcare exchanges eliminates what was a potential barrier to investment in connected health technologies by insurers and providers.

For more information:
- read the announcement
- check out the report summary (.pdf)

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