Remote monitoring market growing fast

Growth driven by increasing chronic illness across the country

The U.S. market for remote patient monitoring, valued at $104.5 million in 2012, is forecasted to reach $296.5 million by 2019, a compound annual growth rate of 16 percent, according to a new report from GBI Research.

Chronic diseases represent an overwhelming burden for healthcare systems in developed countries, due to increasingly elderly populations, and a clear need exists for remote patient monitoring to help lift the load off stretched healthcare resources, according to the report Remote Patient Monitoring Market to 2019 – Potential to Reduce Healthcare Cost Burden and Improve Quality of Care to Drive Future Growth.

[See also: $103M in government funding targets chronic disease.]

By 2030, the United States is projected to see diabetes prevalence rise to 29.6 percent, and the cost of heart disease treatment triple, note GBI officials. “These chronic health problems will provide a significant need for RPM devices in the future, and the availability of reimbursement will continue to drive future growth.,” analysts say.

Also, cardiovascular disease is projected to cause the annual deaths of 25 million people globally by 2030, and patients can often deteriorate rapidly after the onset of symptoms. A preventative approach to CVD treatment could see implantable RPMs used in at-risk patients, alerting medical centers to early warning signs of cardiac arrest.

Diabetes is another common chronic condition, with a global disease population projected to hit 552 million by 2030, according to the research. Diabetes caused 4.6 million deaths and more than $450 billion in healthcare costs in 2011 alone, and significant opportunities are available for the RPM market, if suitable monitoring can be conducted.

RPM can achieve significant cost savings for state healthcare systems. One Biotronik trial on the remote follow-up of patients receiving implantable cardioverter defibrillators for prophylactic therapy showed estimated savings per patient per year of $916, and savings of $141 per person per year on transportation costs, according to GBI.

[See also: Medicare to tackle chronic illnesses with home care.]

RPM can also reduce the number of clinic visits and hospitalizations, and the duration of hospital stay, which benefits chronically ill elderly patients for whom traveling long distances may be a concern, analysts say. This also reduces the burden on the healthcare workforce: the US alone is expected to face a shortage of more than 120,000 healthcare professionals by 2025.

However, financial issues arise, the researchers note. Hospitals also only benefit from remote monitoring if the technology reduces the length of stay, with a reduction in the number of hospitalizations generally resulting in a cut to budgets or reimbursement. Expenses are also incurred on educating patients and healthcare practitioners on how to use RPM devices, and having staff available to respond to clinician alerts.