NEW YORK-- The market for wireless devices that monitor patients' condition and report that data to healthcare providers is on the verge of explosive growth, according to a new study from ABI Research. Over the next few years it will show a remarkable 77% compound annual growth rate (CAGR) resulting in global revenue of almost $950 million in 2014.
"Hospitals and other healthcare providers are being economically squeezed," says ABI Research vice president Stan Schatt. "The demands on the medical system are exacerbated by the aging of populations in most developed nations. Doctors and hospitals are looking for ways to save money, and wireless patient monitoring has a huge potential to do that, for both in- and out-patients. It's a lot more economical to monitor patients remotely at home than to have them come in personally for checkups that consume time and resources."
The variety of sensors available is growing rapidly, measuring a growing array of vital signs and symptoms. Devices are getting smaller. There is even a prototype of a pill containing a digestible radio that will confirm the medication has been taken.
Managed services may be the way forward
However future savings require present investment, and adding wireless communications to equipment adds cost. This is a significant hurdle, says Schatt, so, "In the future we will see entire cellular networks designed as managed services for handling these machine-to-machine communications. The whole process will be outsourced, and software will monitor the incoming measurements. Medical staff will be alerted when the data indicates their intervention is needed."
While wireless healthcare is a global market, the cost of the equipment means that much of the activity in this segment so far is in the United States.
ABI Research's "Wireless Healthcare and Fitness Market Data" (http://www.abiresearch.com/research/1004313) examines markets in remote patient monitoring, telehealth and telepresence. It also includes data about what have been called "body area networks": sensors attached to patients that transmit information on vital signs. This market data product also presents discussion of voice-over-Wi-Fi activity in the healthcare industry.