Remote patient monitoring grows big time

Up 20 percent from a year ago

In 2012, the remote patient monitoring market grew nearly 20 percent, just from 2011, and the numbers haven't shown signs of waning any time soon, according to a new report released this week. 

The report, conducted by Kalorama Information, pegged the U.S. remote patient monitoring market at just shy of $4 billion in 2007, which more than doubled to $8.9 billion in 2011. For 2012, the market further increased to $10.6 billion, and Kalorama officials expect market value to reach $20.9 billion by 2016. 
 
"We expected growth and that growth was certainly seen between 2011 and 2012," said Melissa Elder, Kalorama analyst, in a press statement. "The market has benefited from the demand to move to a more wireless and streamlined operation both within major health facilities and in the home treatment markets. The demand to integrate data processing capabilities and EMR transfer options has also fueled the market."
 
[See also: Remote patient monitoring market to reach $9.3B .]
 
According to the report, aging populations, greater healthcare expenditures, dwindling healthcare resources, advancing technologies and the cost effectiveness of patient monitoring systems all contribute to the market's surge in growth. Report officials say sales will be driven in new technologies as older monitoring equipment is replaced by wireless or remote monitors. Growth will increase over the forecast period as compatibility, privacy and security issues continue to be resolved.
 
The market for advanced remote patient monitoring is highly fragmented, officials say. The majority of companies selling peripherals and systems to the home healthcare and nursing home markets are primarily privately-held, smaller companies. Large concerns such as Abbott, GE Healthcare, Honeywell and Philips compete with newcomers like China's Mindray and specialists like AMD Global Telemedicine or Second Opinion Telehealth.
 
Report findings are supported by other recent studies. Berg Insight, for example, estimated that some 2.8 million patients worldwide were using remote monitoring services by 2012's end, to reach 9.4 million by 2017. 
 
"Widespread use of remote patient monitoring is still years away, but we are moving towards an age where mHealth solutions will become part of standard care pathways," said Lars Kurkinen, telecom analyst, Berg Insight. Kurkinen said in the U.S. new hospital readmissions penalties will facilitate a shift toward telehealth monitoring solutions. 
 
[See also: Fifth attempt on telehealth bill passage.]
 
However, a 2012 TechNavio report finds that although the remote patient monitoring market is expected to see a compound annual growth rate of 6 percent through 2015, high prices and low accuracy of the monitoring systems may negatively affect overall market growth. 
 
Other advances in remote patient monitoring include new peripherals, real-time audio and telemedicine interaction between clinicians and patients, wireless communication, systems that sort the vast amount of data collected in order to put it into the context of a patient's condition, portable and ambulatory monitors, Web-based access to the patient record and other functions.