Aging populations coupled with increasingly detailed lone worker safety regulation in markets across the globe is stimulating rapid growth in deployments of personal emergency response systems (PERS) and mobile PERS (mPERS). Devices in these categories enable individuals to be monitored in several different ways. An important application is as medical alert devices which a user can press to request assistance at any time. Similarly, for lone workers, such capability can be used to check in an confirm all is well.
PERS work in and around the home or work sites, and require users to communicate with the monitoring centre via a home hub or existing connection. mPERS are self-contained devices that are enabled by wireless connectivity and can be used to enable users to speak with agents via a two-way voice link, for example.
The global market for PERS is experiencing rapid growth and is set to reach US$7.4bn by 2024, according to research firm Global Industry Analysts. This growth will be driven by aging populations and the increase in community-centred and in-home healthcare. The firm says the US will remain the largest market for services, most likely because of the greater involvement in that market of health insurance providers.
Key applications will include fall detection, proximity sensors and disease tracking. Growth will be further stimulated by increased acceptance among the tech-savvy elderly of technology-assisted healthcare. In contrast, the APAC market is at a very early stage with social care services still only starting to emerge. Even so, Global Industry Analysts expects this region to have the faster growth at a CAGR of 8.2% in the period from 2018-2024.
Markets and Markets research agrees with this analysis and concludes that North America is expected to hold the largest share and dominate the PERS market between 2017 and 2023. The converging trends of aging population, technological advancement, and favourable government policies are driving the growth of the PERS market in North America. In Asia Pacific (APAC), the expenditure on healthcare has increased over the past few years because of the significant increase in the per capita income. This factor encourages people to opt for better and more reliable healthcare options.
As the market in developed countries is nearly saturated, market players have shifted their focus towards developing regions, especially the emerging economies of Asia as well as the Pacific region where the home healthcare market has great potential. Emerging markets such as China, India, Brazil, Indonesia, and the Philippines offer significant growth opportunities for personal emergency response systems. To meet the demand for round-the-clock monitoring and care of senior citizens, various companies are strategically focusing on increasing the sales of PERS with the help of innovative and user-friendly products.
Within the PERS market, mPERS, is expected to contribute substantial growth as users in developed markets accept smartphones and wearable technologies. At the same time battery life improvements, coupled with availability of more attractive new devices will stimulate app development and user uptake.
An independent study conducted last year by Fallon Health bears this out. In a 12-month study, the US-based health system found that its home healthcare programme saved US$687 per member per month, a 16% reduction compared to a control group. Those savings translated to a 32% reduction in in-patient hospital costs, an almost 40% drop in emergency department costs and an almost 68% reduction in long-term care costs.