Wireless Technology Delivers Healthcare Services To Consumers
7th February 2007. Cambridge, UK: Wireless networking and medical device vendors often find healthcare providers are reluctant to modify their working practices to take advantage of innovations in communications technologies. Consequently, some companies have started to bypass the healthcare provider and are supplying their products or services direct to the healthcare consumer. This is bringing new players into the healthcare market and is creating new models for healthcare provision – especially in the key areas such as diagnosis and preventative healthcare.
According to Wireless Healthcare, while healthcare payers are currently reluctant to fund next generation healthcare services, a number of GPs are already recommending them to their patients. Some are even making subtle changes to their working practices to accommodate devices that patients are buying direct from vendors or across the counter in pharmacies. “This is the soft underbelly of the medical device market,” explains Peter Kruger, an analyst with Wireless Healthcare, “which is being exploited by a range of vendors and next generation medical service providers.”
According to one recent report by Wireless Healthcare, low cost devices built around ECG technology are already used by health conscious consumers. Some of these devices employ simple and relatively well-established techniques based on breathing exercises that reduce blood pressure and ease hypertension. Kruger feels that, in time, incumbent healthcare providers will take on board this type of technology and the procedures they support. “In the case of SMS based patient reminders, we saw how a simple consumer orientated service was quickly adopted by health providers once they saw it had a positive and relatively immediate impact on their performance. This could also be the case with personal ECG technology – especially if it can be demonstrated that these devices relieve hypertension, reduce the patient’s susceptibility to strokes and, in so doing, ease the workload of overstretched hospital A&E departments.”
Wireless Healthcare also predicts that widespread use of personal ECG technology will create a market for online cardio monitoring and a range of other remote diagnostic services.
The report identifies the growing number of aging baby boomers as a key driver within the consumer healthcare device market. These consumers are keen to extend their active life and are particularly alert to any changes in their state of health. A significant number of people already use wireless devices to monitor some aspect of their fitness or to manage their exercise regimes. The report sees it as only a small step for consumers to start using those same devices to monitor their health. Wireless Healthcare points to a number of fitness monitoring device vendors who have already followed their customers into the preventative healthcare market.
Wireless Healthcare’s research indicates that the European and US market for ‘wellness’ based wireless products could be worth $4 billion by 2010. It also sees a substantial proportion of this figure being earned from online healthcare subscription based services, which device manufacturers will use to create sustainable revenue streams and encourage brand loyalty as the fitness and wellness device market becomes increasingly competitive.
About Wireless Healthcare
Wireless Healthcare are UK based analysts specialising in the application of mobile and wireless technology in the healthcare sector. They recently began publication of the second series of their popular and highly respected Wireless Healthcare reports, which focus on the wireless technologies that are required to support new models for healthcare provision.
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