'Taking healthcare home' is an emerging trend in the healthcare industry amid growing concerns over the ageing population and costs incurred in the care of people suffering from chronic illness. All this has added stimulus to the adoption of remote patient monitoring systems.
While remote patient monitoring helps healthcare providers contain costs, it also increases business opportunities for service providers who integrate systems and provide the necessary operational facilities.
Significantly, this market holds tremendous opportunities for several industries such as information and communication technology (ICT) and information technology (IT) and remote patient monitoring is likely to vastly alter the approach to healthcare delivery in the future.
Remote patient monitoring (RPM) greatly minimises hospital stays, resulting in reduction of the cost of healthcare delivery. RPM enables healthcare providers to monitor and diagnose health conditions by remotely collecting, storing, retrieving and analysing vital health signs. For hospitals and otherhealthcare delivery settings, RPM greatly reduces patient load on the available health resources by ensuring early discharge and by monitoring the progression of chronic diseases. RPM enables patients to receive qualityhealthcare whilst staying at home, resulting in a much faster recovery as well as saving unnecessary trips to the emergency department and hospital re-admissions.
The number of people aged 65 and over in Europe is the highest in the world. The developed countries in Europe have relatively high proportions of people aged 65 and over with life expectancies of above 75 years. Remote patient monitoring of the older patients inhomecare settings is one of the better alternatives currently being implemented to tackle the rise in healthcare costs, Farmavita.net reports.
Value of the remote patient monitoring market
The patient monitoring market is an expanding and profitable sector in the global healthcare industry. A new report by GlobalData, Global Patient Monitoring Market Analysis and Forecasts to 2015, shows the global patient monitoring market to be valued at US$4.9 billion in 2008. Driven by the rise of the chronic disease population, the market is forecast to grow by 3.8 percent annually during until 2015 to reach US$7.2 billion.
Globally, the US remains the largest patient monitoring market. In 2008, it was valued at US$2.4 billion and is forecast to grow by 4.3 percent annually during 2008 to 2015, to reach US$3.6 billion. While the US market remains the biggest sector, the European remote patient monitoring market is being driven by the vast proportion of individuals with chronic diseases.
Philips Medical Systems, GE Healthcare and Omron Healthcare remain the leading competitors in the sector. Together, these companies accounted for 39.6 percent of the global market share in 2008. Philips remained the market leader with a share of 14.6 percent. However, with multiple new products expected to hit the market in the next few years, a shift in the prevailing competitive landscape can not be ruled out.
The French remote patient monitoring market valued at US$12.3 million in 2008 is forecast to grow by 3.3 percent annually for the next seven years to reach US$15.4 million by 2015. The UK market is forecast to grow at aCAGR of four percent for the next seven years to reach US$12.2 million in 2015. France and the UK are forecast to grow faster than the average European remote patient monitoring market growth. Together these countries accounted for 51 percent of the European remote patient monitoring market value in 2008.
Frost & Sullivan report on remote patient monitoring
A previous analysis from Frost & Sullivan into European remote patient monitoring markets, said that the quality and benefits of the technology is making it increasingly attractive to vendors across the continent.
The study found that the remote monitoring market earned revenues of €11 million in 2007 and estimates this to reach €253 million in 2014.
"The heightened demands of an ageing population and a related increase in chronic diseases are encouraging market growth," said Frost & Sullivan's research analyst, Janani Narasimhan at the time.
He added: "Remote patient monitoring has the potential to change the way patients manage their own conditions so that they become the keepers of their own healthcare."
The report said vendors are using more innovative and advanced technology in the marketplace to compete with rival vendors and better support healthcare services.
The increased competition is not dampening market potential in Europe, however and this poses a major challenge to companies wishing to boost their unit sales and market revenues.
Narasimhan said: "With no financial incentive for healthcare providers to implement this technology, providers are likely to view remote patient monitoring as an increase in workload without a subsequent hike in pay. On the other hand, connecting personal health information to the Internet exposes this data to more hostile attacks than paper-based medical records."
The report said consumers are increasingly demanding improved quality from their healthcare providers and vendors are stepping up to the plate to deal with the increased demand, eHealthEurope reported.
Public and private healthcare providers saving money
Public and private healthcare providers could save up to GBP£3.9 billion in healthcare costs by 2014 if they use remote patient monitoring systems, according to Juniper Research's Mobile Health Opportunities Report.
Remote patient monitoring sees technology deployed to a patient's home to monitor their health and prevent or manage chronic diseases. The system uses technology to monitor blood pressure, glucose and weight, for example. Readings are sent to a wireless data repository. Alerts can be generated and sent to the patients and clinicians as appropriate.
Mobile monitoring will save healthcare systems vast amounts of money in developed countries. However, the report argues that the high cost of the system means its deployment in developing regions is questionable.
In the past 18 months there has been a renewed interest in "m-Health" from operators globally, said Juniper Research.
The firm predicts that the market for health and fitness mobile applications will also thrive, eventually spawning a new market for advanced apps with integrated sensors worn on the body.
The company advised that establishing the correct route to market for those selling m-Health services will be key to their success.
The report also reveals that the US and Canadian markets will generate the most cost savings, owing to the inherent structure of their health systems, high healthcare costs, and more advanced remote monitoring rollouts.