Twenty eight percent of US broadband households have used some type of virtual care communication tool and nearly 20 percent of smartphone and tablet owners use an app to track or manage their fitness activities, according to a survey from Parks Associates.
The research firm also predicts this figure will increase to 65 percent by 2018 and virtual care doctor-patient video consultation revenues will grow to $13.7 billion.
Parks Associates identified three factors that are driving the connected health market growth. The first, as the aging population increases, so does the need to manage chronic conditions. The second factor is that healthcare reforms such as accountable care organizations also encourage the development of connected health technologies. The last factor is the relationship between broadband expansion and the adoption of smartphones, tablets and health apps. As broadband becomes ubiquitous and households purchase more smartphones and tablets, users are more likely to take advantage of various apps to manage their health.
The researchers estimated that by the end of 2013 over 100 million houses in the United States will have broadband. Within just the first quarter of 2013, two thirds of US broadband households had a smartphone. Last year, two-thirds of US broadband households used an online health service to maintain their health or help manage an illness.
Another growth spot the researchers identified, home health monitoring, has a while before reaching its market potential because researchers cite outdated regulations, resistance to change, and slow payment reforms as barriers. But Parks Associates said consumers are getting more comfortable with the idea of monitoring health remotely and the market is attracting developers with different offerings to address the issue.
Last year, a survey conducted by Parks Associates found that about 5 percent of households with broadband internet have at least one digital fitness device — like a Fitbit, Jawbone UP, or BodyMedia FIT Armband. The survey polled about 10,000 broadband-enabled households.