Telehealth market set to soar, claims report

The world market for telehealth is set to exceed US$1bn by 2016 and could jump to $6bn in 2020, according to a report from InMedica, the medical electronics market research group within IMS Research.

Called “The World Market for Telehealth – A Quantitative Market Assessment – 2011 Edition,” the report says that home monitoring is becoming increasingly relevant in the treatment of chronic diseases.

“Many public healthcare systems now have targets to reduce both the number of hospital visits and the length of stay in hospital,” said Diane Wilkinson, research manager at InMedica. “This has led to a growing trend for healthcare to be managed outside the traditional hospital environment and, as a result, there is a growing trend for patients to be monitored in their home environment using telehealth technologies once their treatment is complete.”

For example, home monitoring of blood pressure allows sufferers of hypertension to manage their condition better and monitor their progress. Home-use medical devices in teleheatlh services, such as blood glucose meters, pulse oximeters, weight scales and peak flow meters, are being deployed to monitor four main diseases – congestive heart failure (CHF), chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), diabetes and hypertension.

“By far the most established market for telehealth at present is the US, as evidenced by the Veteran’s Health Administration’s extensive home telehealth service, which aims to have 92,000 patients enrolled on telehealth services by 2012,” said Wilkinson. “There has also been some large-scale trial activity in Europe, most notably in the UK in 2010 and 2011, where PCTs have initiated some projects involving more than 2000 patients.

“What is apparent is the convergence of many different industries in this space, including telehealth companies, device manufacturers, healthcare agencies, service providers and telecommunication companies to name but a few.

“With such interest from a wide range of investors and the need to minimise healthcare expenditure globally while managing the chronic disease epidemic, there is obvious motivation for the full acceptance of telehealth from governments, physicians and patients alike.”

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