Remote Patient Monitoring (RPM) – the measurement and analysis of a patient’s health status without needing to be physically present – is becoming a hot topic because it enables an innovative, patient-friendly and cost-effective approach to healthcare.
Traditional RPM is evolving at a rapid rate due to a number of external factors. We are seeing new market pressure coming from giants such as Apple, Google and Amazon looking to manoeuvre into the healthcare industry. Recently, Amazon announced its “Haven” project, a joint healthcare venture with JPMorgan Chase and Berkshire Hathaway to improve access to primary care, simplify insurance and make prescription drugs more affordable. With huge R&D budgets and a wealth of technology at their fingertips, their disruption potential is very high.
Changing population demographics are themselves sparking healthcare reforms. As the demographic shifts and results in ageing populations in both emerging and developing nations, the prevalence of chronic diseases will continue to rise and health systems are under pressure to change; prompting new ways to deliver healthcare. RPM is now being explored more seriously as a method of managing rising health costs due to chronic conditions.
New waves of RPM reform
With a finite number of clinicians and caregivers, it’s clear that smart technology will be used to ease the pressure on human resources. Wearables are an obvious method to monitor remote patients and deliver data to the relevant healthcare expert. At IDTechEx our analysts have tracked three waves of sensor and wearables development in RPM.
The first wave saw early sensors developed and used in healthcare including hearing aids and Holter monitors. The second wave brought sensors that were developed primarily in other industries but then made the jump into healthcare and wearable devices over time, such as the use of smartphones and smartwatches in health and fitness tracking. The emerging third wave is far more targeted, with sensors ‘made for wearables’ and developed with key properties in mind like flexibility, comfort and low power usage. These are less commercially mature, but examples such as mobile cardiac telemetry and continuous glucose monitoring will see the strongest growth and relevance in the long term.
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