According to a new report from Juniper Research, healthcare focused smartphone interfaces launched by Samsung and Apple will be instrumental in propelling the global healthcare accessory hardware market to $3 billion by 2019.
The report, titled “Digital Health: Remote Monitoring, Smart Accessories & EHR Cost Savings 2014 2019,” argues that greater visibility and availability of healthcare smartphone platforms will encourage independent device manufacturers to launch a wider array of increasingly sophisticated mHealth products. Such devices include blood pressure cuffs, oximeters for diabetes and sleep monitors for sleep apnea.
However, the research firm notes that although Apple’s HealthKit and Samsung’s SAMI platforms will popularize consumer digital health, they could also impact the opportunity for bespoke remote patient monitoring devices. Report author Anthony Cox noted that “As health platforms support more ‘medical’ devices, rather than just today’s fitness trackers, they will usurp the territory occupied by chronic disease monitoring companies.’
The medical profession increasingly considering the role of digital health.The report also notes that, driven by aging populations and increased chronic disease incidence, “ObamaCare” is bringing about a re-think of how healthcare needs should be addressed, with the medical profession increasingly considering the role of digital health. This will manifest itself in several ways including: healthcare companies investing in major digital healthcare players such as Epocrates and AirStrip; advanced EHR becoming the “glue” to create wider digital health ecosystems; and, regulatory authorities embracing the role of digital health and imposing less stringent regulatory obligations on digital health companies.
However, despite a more positive outlook for the digital health industry’s future – widespread, well-documented trials are still needed to galvanize take-up of remote patient monitoring projects. Furthermore, questions remain over how digital healthcare projects will be reimbursed.