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mHealth Technology Market Exploding

Driven largely by the growth in remote patient monitoring, the mobile health marketing is expanding rapidly, with the global market expected to reach $10.2 billion USD by 2018, according to Transparency Market Research.

According to TMR, the global mHealth market added up to just $1.3 billion in 2012, but should grow at a compound annual growth rate of 41.5 percent through 2018, with monitoring services contributing heavily to the total.

According to the researchers, the global mHealth market’s explosion is being driven by factors such as growing adoption of smartphones and the rising incidence of chronic diseases.  Also, the incredible growth in the availability of smartphone applications has created new channels for communication between patients and healthcare providers, a connection which further feeds the emergence of new applications.

According to TMR’s analysis, remote monitoring services currently make up the largest share of the global mHealth market, or about 63 percent, followed by diagnostic services and healthcare systems strengthening. And monitoring services will continue to be the fastest growing segment in global mHealth, given this technology’s ability to help ameliorate acute conditions such as coronary artery disease, hypertension, and congestive heart failure, the group notes.

These findings are underscored by related figures from Kalorama Information, which just released a report tagging the telemedicine patient monitoring market as having grown from $4.2 billion in 2007 to over $10 billion in 2012.

While they’re are clearly engaged in some forms of remote monitoring here and there, this approach is still at an early stage for most hospitals, as reimbursement for hospital-based remote monitoring is scant or non-existent in some cases, Kalorama notes.

However, the home healthcare and remote location health monitoring markets are already well-positioned to grow, and are poised to expand using wireless, handheld and ambulatory devices that replace older monitoring equipment, Kalorama researchers say.

June 13, 2013 I Written By

Anne Zieger is veteran healthcare consultant and analyst with 20 years of industry experience. Zieger formerly served as editor-in-chief of FierceHealthcare.com and her commentaries have appeared in dozens of international business publications, including Forbes, Business Week and Information Week. She has also contributed content to hundreds of healthcare and health IT organizations, including several Fortune 500 companies.

Remote Patient Monitoring Going Mainstream

This week I read a piece of news which suggests to me that we’re seeing a turning point in the use of remote monitoring technology to manage patients.  It looks like AT&T is taking a major public position in support of remote monitoring via the cloud, via a partnership with a  hot new startup that just raised funding, according to a report in mobihealthews.

According to the mobile health news publication, cloud-based patient monitoring company Intuitive Health just got a $3.4 million investment in what appears to be the company’s first public round of investment.

Intuitive, which completed a pilot with health system Texas Health Resources and AT&T last year, offers cloud-based remote monitoring software which can interface with any device.

The pilot involved monitoring CHF patients remotely for 90 days using wireless pulse oximeters, blood pressure cuffs and weight scales, plus tablets and apps feeding the data to the  patients’ EMR records. During the pilot, THR reduced hospital readmissions for chronic heart failure patients by 27 percent, mobihealthnews reports.

According to a press release from AT&T, Intuitive’s software has since become a key component in the telecom giant’s own SaaS patient monitoring product.

Remote monitoring has been a hot topic of discussion and an emerging approach for several years, but hasn’t found an established place in day-to-day care for most institutions.  With AT&T and Intuitive offering a device-agnostic model, however, I believe they will give a boost to the use of remote monitoring generally.

Personally, I’ve been cheering for remote monitoring to succeed for some time; after all, given how mobile-device-oriented people are anyway, it just makes sense to leverage those capabilities to improve their health.  I hope this represents a turning point for this type of technology and that we see news of more successful pilots this year.

January 31, 2013 I Written By

Anne Zieger is veteran healthcare consultant and analyst with 20 years of industry experience. Zieger formerly served as editor-in-chief of FierceHealthcare.com and her commentaries have appeared in dozens of international business publications, including Forbes, Business Week and Information Week. She has also contributed content to hundreds of healthcare and health IT organizations, including several Fortune 500 companies.

The Era of the Medical Body Area Network Approaches

If you’re a reader of this publication, you are probably aware that iPads and smartphones aren’t the only devices struggling to find their place on emerging healthcare networks.  For example, medical devices are increasingly going wireless (see our recent story on wireless smart infusion pumps) and becoming edge devices feeding into the EMR.

Now, enter the wireless sensor as a contender. In an intriguing move, the agency is considering setting aside spectrum specifically dedicated to Medical Body Area Networks (MBAN), groups of patient-attached sensors collecting clinical information and transmitting it wirelessly to enterprise systems.

The FCC announced late last month that it would like to reserve the 2.36 to 2.40 gHz band exclusively for MBAN devices.  If it does so, it will make the United States the first country ever to allocate spectrum exclusively for such purposes.

According to data provided by Smartplanet.com, 80 percent of doctors support the use of MBAN devices.  That’s logical, considering that doctors are already used to using wireless smartphones, iPads, Android tablets and laptops to send and retrieve medical data.

As doctors grow  used to being able to access more data more of  the time, I’m not surprised that they’d want patients monitored wirelessly as well.  EMR, iPad and the wirelessly-connected patient are a common-sense trifecta that seems ripe to reduce hospital readmissions, improve outcomes and allow patients to be safely monitored at home.

Now, even if the FCC moves ahead with its plans — which it says are intended to spark MBAN innovations — that doesn’t mean hospitals will opt to pay for the emerging technology.  Most will probably wait until there’s a significant body of evidence and  use cases to support buying wireless sensors and  integrating them with their EMR.

In the mean time, though, I’ve got to say I’m excited to hear about this. Remote monitoring of patients, be it at home, in a hospital, skilled nursing facility or other setting, just seems like a great idea. MBAN use can offer immediate benefits in a world where such are rare indeed. I say, “FCC, bring it on!”

June 4, 2012 I Written By

Anne Zieger is veteran healthcare consultant and analyst with 20 years of industry experience. Zieger formerly served as editor-in-chief of FierceHealthcare.com and her commentaries have appeared in dozens of international business publications, including Forbes, Business Week and Information Week. She has also contributed content to hundreds of healthcare and health IT organizations, including several Fortune 500 companies.