Consumers, not telehealth patients, will drive adoption of wireless medical devices, says IMS Research

Consumers, not telehealth patients, will drive adoption of wireless medical devices, says IMS Research

Wellingborough, UK. May 22, 2012 — IMS Research predicts that consumers’ self-monitoring health devices, rather than those used in managed telehealth systems, will provide the largest opportunity for wireless technologies over the next five years.

IMS Research forecasts that more than 50 million wireless health monitoring devices will ship for consumer monitoring applications during the next five years, with a smaller number being used in managed telehealth systems.

According to IMS Research’s latest report, Wireless Opportunities in Health and Wellness Monitoring – 2012 Edition, medical devices bought by the consumer to self-monitor their health will account for more than 80% of all wireless-enabled consumer medical devices in 2016. The demand to self-monitoring one’s health is growing much faster than that for telehealth implementation. Even without healthcare systems that are adapted for this, consumers want to be able to monitor and manage their own health at home. However, the proportion of wireless devices used in managed telehealth programs is forecast to increase from 5% in 2011, to 20% in 2016 as telehealth deployment grows.

According to Lisa Arrowsmith (pictured), senior analyst at IMS Research, “Due to the relatively slow deployment of managed telehealth systems — which is in part due to a reluctance from health providers to move past trials, issues with reimbursement, and stringent regulations related to the use and storage of medical data — medical devices used by the consumer to independently monitor their health will provide the biggest uptake of wireless technology in consumer health devices over the next five years.”

One of the main drivers for the inclusion of wireless technology in consumer health monitoring devices is the ability to monitor one’s health using a separate device such as a smartphone to collect and view the information. There is currently a wealth of ‘apps’ on several platforms which allow users to transfer readings from a medical device, which can then be stored and displayed on the device, or uploaded to a cloud-based system such as Microsoft HealthVault.

This is possible by buying independent devices from companies such as A&D Medical which utilise wireless technologies such as ANT+ or Bluetooth. Measurements from these devices can be viewed and stored locally, on devices such as smartphones, or uploaded to independent cloud-based systems.

Complete systems by companies such as Entra Health Systems also allow consumers to take blood glucose readings and upload them to a dedicated cloud-based system via a mobile phone using Bluetooth wireless technology. This information can then either be viewed directly on a mobile device such as a smartphone, or via an internet portal on a computer.

“The increase in consumer familiarity with mobile applications as well as an increased awareness of the importance of monitoring health levels is driving the market for connected health devices,” adds Arrowsmith. “Many consumers already utilise smartphone apps to track their own health and fitness results, with devices such as activity monitors and heart-rate monitors. Now, there is increasing availability of health-related peripheral devices such as blood pressure monitors to track and upload information in real time via a wireless or wired connection to devices such as smartphones and tablets.”

This latest report from IMS Research, assesses the uptake of 10 connectivity technologies (Wired, Classic Bluetooth, Bluetooth low energy, Wi-Fi, ZigBee, DECT ULE, ANT, NFC, 5 kHz, and Proprietary & Others) in five consumer health monitoring devices, with addition segmentation between consumer medical devices, and telehealth medical devices (blood pressure monitors, blood glucose monitors, pulse oximeters, implantable devices, and others), five types of dedicated health hub (dedicated/standalone hubs, cellular handsets, PC/Laptop/Tablets, residential gateway, and others), and five sports and fitness monitoring devices (heart rate monitors, pedometers, footpods, speed & distance sensors, and cycling computers). Additional segmentation is also provided for the uptake of consumer health devices across three major regions (Americas, EMEA, and Asia-Pacific).

IHS (NYSE: IHS) is a leading source of information, insight and analytics in critical areas that shape today’s business landscape. IHS has been in business since 1959 and became a publicly traded company on the New York Stock Exchange in 2005. Headquartered in Englewood, Colorado, USA, IHS employs more than 5,500 people in more than 30 countries around the world.

IMS Research is an independent supplier of market research and consultancy to the global electronics industry, offering syndicated market studies, custom research and consultancy services. IMS Research has offices in Europe, the US, China, Taiwan, South Korea, and Japan.

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