Remote patient monitoring market grew by 44 percent in 2016, report says

By Heather Mack
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The remote patient monitoring market saw a big jump in the last year, with 7.1 million patients in 2016 enrolled in some form of digital health program featuring connected medical devices as a core part of their care plan, according to new data.

Swedish market research firm Berg Insight, which specializes in IoT verticals, tracked a 44 percent jump in remotely monitored patients last year. While that’s not counting the various connected devices used for personal health tracking, the researchers predict that will begin to play a larger role in their ongoing healthcare. They estimate the number of remotely monitored patients will reach 50.2 million in the next four years, with 25.2 million comprised of those with connected home medical monitoring devices and the rest coming from personal devices.

“Using patients’ own mobile devices as health hubs is now becoming a viable alternative for remote patient monitoring,” the researchers write. “Bring-your-own-device connectivity will be preferred by select patients groups and will be used for the monitoring of 22.9 million patients in 2021. “

As the trend moves towards incorporating more connectivity in medical devices and pharmaceuticals to leverage new value propositions and services, Berg identified sleep tech as the fastest growing market of 2016, eclipsing the implantable cardiac rhythm management device market (dominated by companies like Medtronic, Biotronik and St. Jude Medical), which has long been the strongest market. The two verticals together accounted for 80 percent of all connected home monitoring systems in 2016, followed by telehealth, with half a million connections.

“The number of remotely monitored sleep therapy patients grew by 70 percent in 2016, with market growth mainly driven by the vendor ResMed that has made connected healthcare a cornerstone of its strategy," the report states.

Looking forward, Berg predicts glucose monitoring, air flow monitoring and connected pharmaceuticals will be the three fastest growing market segments for the next five years. Leading those segments, Berg pointed to AstraZeneca, Dexcom, Merck, Novartis, Propeller Health, Proteus Digital Health, Roche, Sanofi, Voluntis and WellDoc. 

Cellular connectivity has become the de-facto standard communication technology for connected home medical monitoring devices, with 4.9 million such devices with integrated cellular connectivity (up from 3 million in 2015). 

Taking apart the digital health value chain, Berg reported that care delivery platforms, and the software solutions that enable those platforms remotely, are the most rapidly developing. There are different types of platforms on the market, such as general-purpose ones like Exco InTouch or Vivify Health that can be adapted to various use cases by forming the basis of development for specific therapeutic areas, or those like Qualcomm Life and Validic that provide products and services to collect, transmit and create actionable insights from medical monitoring device data to caregivers.

And when it comes to managing that data, Berg reported that there are a variety of parties positioned to fill the role. One trend is using third party clouds, such as that employed by diabetes management company Glooko, and many other entities are rising up to manage the huge amounts of data from health-related apps and devices.

“When the line between medical devices and health gadgets has become blurred, traditional as well as startup companies try to position themselves as important stakeholders in the ecosystem for [mobile health] data,” the report authors write. “National PHR systems, device manufacturing companies, independent app producers and tech giants such as Google, Apple and Microsoft are some common options for data storage.”