Friday, December 24, 2010

Global home health remote monitoring market worth $10 billion in 2010

The global market for home health remote monitoring of welfare diseases was valued in 2010 at some €7.6 billion ($10 billion) and is growing about 9 percent annually. The diabetes monitoring segment is by far the largest segment, worth about €6.3 billion ($8.2 billion). According to a report published by research firm Berg Insight.

The analyst firm said that the most common chronic diseases that are monitored today include diabetes, cardiac arrhythmia, sleep apnea, asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).

These conditions cause substantial costs and reduce both life expectancy and quality of life. Berg said that more than 200 million people in the European Union (EU) and the United States (US) suffer from one or several chronic diseases where home monitoring can become a treatment option.

At the end of 2010, an estimated 1 million patients used a home monitoring service based on equipment with integrated connectivity. The figure does not include patients that use monitoring devices connected to a PC or mobile phone; it only includes systems that rely on monitors with integrated connectivity or systems that use monitoring hubs with integrated cellular or fixed-line modems.

“Progress is being made in the adoption of wireless technology among manufacturers of medical monitoring equipment, but there is still a long way to go before remote monitoring becomes a standard practice in the healthcare sector,” said AndrĂ© Malm, Senior Analyst at Berg Insight. "Consumer-oriented health and wellness monitoring will drive the mHealth segment in the near term."

The report estimated that a growing number of wellness and medical monitors will be connected to mobile devices via Bluetooth and other short-range technologies. And that in the future smartphones are likely to be the primary monitoring device for many patients.

"More and more health and wellness apps are also being released for smartphones, ranging from BMI calculators, diet guides and sport trackers to medical reference apps," Malm said.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Report: mHealth apps market to triple to 600 million by 2012

The number of mobile health (mHealth) applications in use is expected to increase threefold by 2012 to 600 million from 200 million today, according to a new report published by Pyramid Research.

Pyramid experts conclude that the mHealth industry is well positioned to offer real solutions to the growing needs of the global healthcare sector. The report indicates that healthcare is facing an immediate crisis as there is a global deficit of 2.4 million healthcare workers and an international shortage of hospital beds worldwide. This leads to a situation in which governments, healthcare providers and insurance carriers are desperate to develop solutions that lower costs and improve patient care.

The report, titled "Key Players in Mobile Healthcare", indicates that some 70% of the world population is interested in having access to at least one mHealth application, and are also willing to pay for such services.

The author notes that the main obstacle to wider adoption of mHealth applications stems from costs associated with using such services. These expenditures include the costs of developing new services and educating healthcare providers, patients and payers. Another key question is how to justify such costs for reimbursement purposes?

"Healthcare solutions that are delivered via mobile technology are creating a new frontier of innovation that is driving down costs, increasing access, and improving quality of care," indicated Denise Culver, who wrote the report. "And even as mHealth connects, informs, and protects patients and caregivers in powerful ways, it also opens up many opportunities for mobile network operators like AT&T, BT, Orange, and Telefonica; original equipment manufacturers including Apple, RIM, and Ericsson; hardware and software vendors, such as Cisco, Oracle, Microsoft, and Google; and a new breed of device and application providers that specialize solely on mHealth, including CardioNet, Epocrates, and NowPos."

Thursday, December 16, 2010

12 ways pharmaceutical companies can benefit from mHealth apps

A recent article published by research2gudiance explains how smartphone applications can be instrumental for pharmaceutical companies.

The author, Ralf Gordon Jahns, names eight reasons and we at Aerotel Medical System added four more based on our own experience.
  • Potential reach:  High growth rates will enable pharmaceutical companies reach 20% of the world population by 2015, mainly in developed countries.
  • Differentiation: The potential for mHealth apps to support patient adherence and compliance makes them the ideal add-on for pharmaceutical products. Pharma companies offering applications will not only be providing a service, they will also differentiate their products from those offered by the competition.
  • Facilitate improved patients outcomes: Manufacturers have an opportunity to support patients by developing applications that assist them in achieving compliance, thereby improving their outcomes.
  • Contemporary marketing: Drug makers should re-allocate marketing budgets to applications, which are cheaper, more innovative, and represent a real value. 
  • Learn more about patients: Apps provide direct usage information which can assist in understanding patients' habits.
  • Saving costs: mHealth applications have the potential to offer various cost-saving areas.
  • Improve relations with doctors: Apps are very personal tools and are one of the few things that doctors always carry with them. It represents new possibilities to interact with physicians and other healthcare professionals. 
  • Increasing revenue: With the price for mHealth apps at $5 to $10, the possibility to develop apps that enable automatic replenishment of drugs based on patient consumption and electronic prescriptions exists.
We would add to the list:
  • Faster development - Sharing emerging health info between users thorough mobile apps can help research-based pharmaceutical companies and medical laboratories identify disease patterns and develop new solutions in a faster and safer way.
  • Clinical trials – Participants in clinical trials are required to provide information on their day-to-day moves. Using mHealth applications allows monitoring these patients in real time gathering critical data.
  • Pharmacovigilance – Mobile applications can be used to allow faster detection, assessment, understanding and prevention of unexpected side effects of new medicines. By using mHealth solutions, drug manufacturers can quickly gather such information from a large group of users who are located in different areas.
  • Fighting counterfeit medicines – The World Health Organisation estimates that more than 10% of medicines on the global market are fake and that in developing countries the some 25% are counterfeit or sub-standard. By using mobile applications, manufacturers can verify the authentication of their medicines.