2015: Cellular trumps landlines, WiFi in remote patient monitoring for the first time

By Jonah Comstock

According to a new report from Swedish analyst firm Berg Insight, 4.9 million patients were remotely monitored in 2015, up 51 percent from the previous year. The firm predicts that number will continue to grow at a CAGR of 48.9 percent, leading to 36.1 million remotely monitored patients in 2020.

Berg Insight does not include voluntary personal health tracking in its RPM research. The 2015 device use was overwhelmingly driven by two categories, implantable cardiac monitoring devices and sleep therapy devices, which made up 81 percent of all connected home medical monitoring systems. The sleep category was also the fastest growing, with the number of remotely monitored sleep therapy patients growing by 170 percent in 2015.

Berg Insight attributes a lot of this movement to ResMed, which surpassed Medtronic as the world’s largest provider of remote patient monitoring offerings in 2015, the report says. Earlier in 2015, Medtronic became the first company ever to claim one million remotely monitored patients.

Remote patient monitoring revenues hit $6.7 billion (6.2 billion euros) in 2015, Berg said, which includes revenues from connectivity solutions and care deliver platforms as well as the monitoring devices themselves. They expect revenues to grow at a CAGR of 32.1 percent to hit $27 billion (25 billion euros) in 2020. Right now devices themselves account for about 70 percent of the revenue, but by 2020 Berg predicts they will make up just over half.

Finally, Berg reports that in 2015, cellular officially become the preferred connectivity method for remote patient monitoring, surpassing landlines and local area networks for the first time.

"Cellular continues to be the only technology that can be used to reliably connect every patient with their healthcare providers” Senior Analyst Lars Kurkinen said in a statement.

But cellular itself could be displaced soon by BYOD systems that use the patient's own smartphone or connected device. Berg predicts BYOD connectivity will be used for the remote monitoring of 15.2 million patients in 2020.