Medical device vendors make moves as mHealth market heats up
 

In June 2014, M2M research firm Berg Insight will publish its latest market research report on mHealth and home monitoring, which provides a global view on the use of connected medical devices in the delivery of professional healthcare services.

Some of the most common conditions being monitored today are chronic diseases including cardiac arrhythmia, hypertension, ischemic diseases, sleep apnea, diabetes, asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). These conditions cause substantial costs and reduce both life expectancy and quality of life. Berg Insight estimates that more than 200 million people in the EU and the US suffer from one or several diseases where home monitoring can become a treatment option. The use of connected care solutions can lead to decreased costs, more efficient care delivery and improved sustainability of the healthcare system.

 

The market is still in an early stage, with just three million patients using connected home medical monitoring devices at the end of 2013. This figure comprises all patients with connected medical devices that were remotely monitored by a professional caregiver. Patients that use connected medical devices for personal health tracking are not included in this figure. Berg Insight forecasts that the number of patients using connected home medical monitoring devices will grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 44.4% to reach 19.1 million in 2018. Meanwhile, revenues for remote patient monitoring solutions are expected to grow at a CAGR of 35%  €4.3 billion in 2013 to reach €19.4 billion in 2018.

There is a strong trend towards incorporating more connectivity in medical devices. Many incumbent medical device OEMs are betting on connectivity to create new value proportions, enable new services and differentiate from the competition. The approach has thus far been most common in high-value device categories such as cardiac rhythm management implants and CPAP machines. In these segments, leading vendors such as Medtronic, Biotronik, St Jude Medical, ResMed, Philips Respironics and Fisher & Paykel Healthcare have marketed connected solutions for years. The trend is now also spreading to other device categories and vendors such as Omron, Johnson & Johnson and Roche introducing connected blood glucose meters and blood pressure monitors. In the pharmaceutical industry, Merck Serono became one of the first incumbents to release connected medication solutions though the launch of the Easypod and RebiSmart injection systems in 2013 and 2014 respectively.

The connected care market is also attractive for entrants that develop new types of medical devices or other sensors that need to be connected in order to work as intended. Examples include the connected glucose meter developed by Telcare, the smart inhaler sensor developed by Propeller Health, the T4P device for monitoring CPAP machine usage developed by SRETT, and the medication dispenser developed by Evondos. While some of these companies can grow to disrupt their respective fields, others will be acquired well before having a chance to make a noticeable dent in the market. Recent deals include St Jude Medical¡¯s acquisition of CardioMEMS and OPKO Health¡¯s acquisition of Inspiro Medical. Medtronic is an example of an incumbent that is taking the game one step further by leveraging connected care as a key ingredient in transforming the company from a medical device vendor to an integrated provider of services and solutions. As a part of this strategy, the company has acquired connected care companies such as Cardiocom and Corventis during the past year.

 

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