Proving the Business Case for the Internet of Things

Three million patients globally using remote monitoring: Berg

Iain Morris
July 2, 2014
More than three million patients worldwide were using connected home medical monitoring devices at the end of 2013, according to new research from Berg Insight.

The figure comprises all patients that were remotely monitored by a professional caregiver, but not patients using connected medical devices for personal health tracking, said the market-research company.

Berg reckons the number of patients using connected home medical monitoring devices will increase at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 44.4%, to 19.1 million, between now and 2018.

Some two million of the devices at the end of 2013 were being used to monitor patients with implantable cardiac rhythm management (CRM) devices, with another 0.54 million being used for sleep therapy and 0.34 for telehealth.

All other device categories – including ECG, glucose level, medication adherence, blood pressure, air flow, home sleep tests, blood oxygen and coagulation monitoring – accounted for less than 0.1 million connections each.

Berg expects CRM to remain the single largest device segment over the forecast period, growing at a CAGR of 15.1% to four million connections by 2018.

However, its share of overall connections is expected to fall from 65% in 2013 to just 21% in 2018, as the use of connectivity grows faster in other device segments.

According to the research, more than 70% of all connected medical devices rely on PSTN or LAN connectivity for transmitting measurement data to caregivers, but cellular connectivity has become the most common technology in new medical devices and is expected to account for 74% of all connections by 2018.

Patients are also starting to use their own mobile devices as health hubs.

“It is currently more common that caregivers provide a dedicated tablet or smartphone to a patient for remote monitoring than that a patient uses her own device,” said Lars Kurkinen, a senior analyst with Berg. “The main limitation is in the lack of interoperability between medical monitoring devices, smartphones and tablets.”

According to Kurkinen, mobile health connectivity platforms like 2net Mobile – developed by Qualcomm Life (San Diego, CA, USA) – and Apple’s (Cupertino, CA, USA) HealthKit are emerging as promising solutions and can allow bring-your-own-device health hubs to become favored alternatives for certain groups of patients, such as diabetics and asthmatics.
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