Telehealth will drive medical device home use

May 27, 2010

The use of home use medical devices will ramp up as telehealth takes off, according to a report from British medical research company InMedica.

The use of home use medical devices will ramp up as telehealth takes off, according to a report from British medical research company InMedica.

Today telehealth is mainly used for the management of chronic diseases, such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, chronic heart failure, hypertension, and diabetes. As the use of telehealth grows, more people will have monitoring devices in their homes. InMedica predicts strong growth of unit shipments of home-use digital blood-glucose meters, blood pressure monitors, weight scales, pulse oximeters and peak flow meters used in telehealth applications.

While the United States has been leading the adoption of telehealth so far, some European countries such as the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, Denmark, and Germany have also witnessed implementation of telehealth projects of varying scope and scale. Another market for telehealth that is also gaining traction includes people who are more generally concerned or worried about their state of health, but who may not necessarily have been diagnosed with a medical condition.

Consumer telehealth will be an extension of the current home-use medical device market, according to InMedica, with manufacturers offering additional internet-based services to people that purchase their monitors.

These services are expected to include simple analysis of readings and some level of generalized feedback that may include dietary and nutritional advice. Moreover, there are a host of specialist software applications of varying health management tools also available. These services are likely to be subscription-based and will coincide with the popularity of internet health products such as Google Health or Microsoft's Health Vault.

InMedica expects professional and consumer telehealth to develop in partnership with each other. In fact, consumer-led telehealth services could prove to be the influence required for professional care authorities to drive telehealth forward. Either way, an increase in popularity of telehealth services will result in additional sales for home use medical devices in the long term, according to the company.

InMedica is the medical research division of IMS Research, a supplier of market research and consultancy services on a wide range of global electronics markets.