Top Story, Health IT, Devices & Diagnostics

Report: Market for home health technologies will triple by 2020

The forecast from Tractica considers medical, health and wellness uses of connected devices, services and applications outside traditional clinical settings.

The worldwide market for home health technologies will triple in the space of six years, from $3.4 billion in 2014 to $13.7 billion by 2020, a new report from research firm Tractica forecasts. The forecast considers medical, health and wellness uses of connected devices, services and applications outside traditional clinical settings, and excludes purely fitness products.

According to Tractica, headquartered in Boulder, Colo., North America — the U.S. and Canada —will account for more than half the global market five years from now, just as it does today. “That’s where the money is,” Tractica principal analyst Charul Vyas said succinctly.

However, the European and Asia-Pacific markets also stand to turn to more home health technologies in the next half-decade. “All countries are struggling trying to keep their healthcare costs in check,” Vyas told MedCity News.

Indeed, her bullishness stems from the fact that such technologies will keep people healthier and lower costs. “There’s a general ROI/cost-savings element there,” Vyas said.

Tractica looked at four use cases in its study: care of chronic diseases; routine, ongoing treatment; eldercare; and health maintenance and wellness. The report noted that 60 percent of global healthcare spending is for chronic conditions, and the prevalence of such ailments has even surpassed communicable diseases in much of the developing world.

Meanwhile, the population is aging rapidly. According to Tractica, about 12 percent of all humans alive today are at least 60 years old, and that percentage will double in the next five years.

“The eldercare market is one that’s starting to change,” Vyas said.

In the U.S., the Medicare policy of not reimbursing hospitals for preventable readmissions, in place since 2011, as well as the general focus on accountable care has been an “impetus to keep patients healthier and out of the hospital,” Vyas said.

That has led to greater interest in home-based technology to monitor patients here and abroad, as similar value-based payment systems are taking hold in Europe and other developed parts of the world. “There is value in deploying a lot of these things,” Vyas said.

In more developed settings like the U.S., expect to see “tighter integration” with population health management tools and electronic health records, according to Vyas. She mentioned the nascent collaboration between EHR vendor Cerner and the Qualcomm Life subsidiary of wireless communications giant Qualcomm to import data from home-based medical devices into patient records.

Photo: Flickr user Sean Dreilinger