As telehealth begins to expand, the global market for home-based medical devices will soar. A new report by InMedica, the medical electronics consulting arm of IMS Research, states that within three years, the worldwide shipments of such popular home use devices as blood pressure monitors, weight scales, pulse oximeters and peak flow meters will top 1.6 million units. Health hubs are expected to grow 400,000, bring the global total shipment of telehealth devices to over 2 million.
The rationale behind growth of this market hinges on unhealthy lifestyles and an aging population prone to chronic conditions. In fact, most of today's home health device market helps patients manage chronic diseases, like diabetes, hypertension, congestive heart failure, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. Last year, almost 50,000 blood pressure monitors were used as telehealth devices. That number will grow 10-fold, to over 500,000 by 2013. In that period, diabetes monitors expect to top 300,000 shipped units.
The U.S. has taken the lead in adopting the home monitoring device arena. The Department of Veteran's Affairs is the largest user with over 30,000 subscribers. The uptake by European countries, like the UK, Denmark, Germany and the Netherlands is gaining some traction.
Telehealth services will be an immediate extension of existing home-use medical devices. Manufacturers may offer Internet-based services to consumers who buy their devices, in order to allow for the analysis of levels and reading, and feedback and recommendations to be readily transmitted between patient and provider. InMedica researcher, Neha Khandelwal, says "these services are likely to be subscription based and will coincide with the popularity of internet health products such as Google Health or Microsoft's Health Vault." This could be pushed along by a newer market for telehealth that includes individuals who don't yet suffer any definable health problems, but will turn to telehealth enabled devices as a preemptive or proactive measure.
To learn more:
- check out this InMedica press release