Monday, October 3, 2011

World telehealth market to reach $990 million by 2015

The global telehealth market is expected to continue growing at a command annual growth rate (CAGR) of 43.4 percent to $990 million by 2015, according to a report by medical research company InMedica.

InMedica analysts predict that the market will continue to rise to over $1 billion in 2016 and has the potential to reach $6 billion by 2020. 

The authors said that increasing demand for healthcare, associated with ever increasing disease prevalence and an ageing population creates a significant challenge for the delivery of care. The number of people with chronic condition is forecast to increase dramatically by 10%-20% over the next ten years. Moreover, the aging demographic will lead to a significant increase in disease co-morbidities in the population that is over-65. 

Telehealth, also known as Telemedicine, means using information and communications technologies for the delivery of healthcare services. Telehealth reduces the unnecessary hospitalizations and reduces waiting lists for medical treatment with a significant saving factor on economic resources. This technology gives patients the ability to monitor the specific parameters of their conditions and then have the information sent directly to their physicians for management of their disease process via telephone, cellular or the Internet.

Telehealth has become a rapidly evolving field, thanks to recent technological breakthroughs, such as miniaturized sensors and advancements in telecommunications means that allow an almost permanent contact in case of need. Telehealth can offer cost-effective remote monitoring solutions that can seamlessly operate from anywhere at anytime. 

The report illustrates that home-monitoring is becoming increasingly relevant in the treatment of chronic diseases. Home-use medical devices in Teleheatlh services, such as blood glucose meters, pulse oximeters, weight scales and peak flow meters are being deployed to monitor four main diseases – congestive heart failure (CHF), chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), diabetes and hypertension.

"The main driving force behind the sharp growth of the Telehealth market are the new solutions for monitoring chronic diseases answering the growing need for such solutions that will hold down healthcare costs," said Ofer Atzmon, Vice President for Business Development and Marketing at Aerotel Medical Systems. "From our experience the strongest demand is for hypertension (monitoring of blood pressure) solutions, followed by diabetes (monitoring of glucose and blood pressure), CHF (monitoring of blood pressure and weight) and COPD (monitoring of SpO2 and spirometry values)."

“Many public healthcare systems now have targets to reduce both the number of hospital visits and the length of stay in hospital,” said Diane Wilkinson, Research Manager at InMedica. “This has led to a growing trend for healthcare to be managed outside the traditional hospital environment, and as a result, there is a growing trend for patients to be monitored in their home environment using telehealth technologies once their treatment is complete.”

She noted that the US is the most established market for telehealth by far. So for example, the Veteran’s Health Administration’s extensive home Telehealth service aims to provide some 92,000 patients with Telehealth services by next year. Wilkinson added that there has also been some large-scale trial activity in Europe, mainly in the UK.

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