Get ready for an explosion of home healthcare devices and solutions over the coming five years. A number of major megatrends are converging: an aging population that will consume more healthcare, the proliferation of connected devices, and the growing need to contain healthcare costs. These trends will produce a spike in the global market for home health technologies in the coming years, according to a report from IHS Technology.
The report, "Home Health Technology Report – 2014," reveals that worldwide revenue for home healthcare devices and services will rise to $12.6 billion in 2018, up from $5.7 billion in 2013. IHS notes that the home healthcare market consists of six distinct segments: independent living services, consumer medical devices, telehealth, personal emergency response systems (PERS), wearable technologies, and health gaming (games designed to improve health).
The report noted that home healthcare products will experience technology convergence that will make the devices richer in features. These products will see a blending of Internet connectivity, interoperability with other devices, big data analytics, miniaturization, and wearable technology. This has already occurred to some extent with mobile PERS devices, which are able to act as gateway devices for telehealth, or activity monitors with optical heart-rate sensors.
Healthcare IT vendors are developing highly connected and interoperable solutions taking advantage of patient-generated data to support the decision-making process of healthcare professionals, and to create the inevitable bridge between clinical care and home health.
The report noted that the quantity of patient-generated data will grow exponentially with the increasing use of home health technologies. Big data in healthcare will determine the success of population health management, which is essential to the business model of accountable-care organizations and their objective of providing value-based care.
Home-based medical devices have just begun a major makeover in capability as well as deployment. “Home health devices have existed for a while. However, over the past couple of years they have changed substantially,” Roeen Roashan, medical devices and digital health analyst at IHS and author of the report, told Design News. “Devices today are more connected and interoperable, which means that they are able to connect to the Internet but also to other devices such as smartphones and tablets.”
As home health devices become smarter and better-connected, they are spurring a revolution in how healthcare is delivered. “You will see more comprehensive solutions for patient monitoring. IHS expects convergence to occur for independent living services, telehealth, and PERS,” Roashan told us. “This convergence will change and improve the solutions and also the platform on which they are offered -- most likely through connected home solutions with existing telecommunications providers.”
One of the results of the technology boom in home healthcare will be shorter hospital stays, as well as the avoidance of hospitalization for many patients. “Hospital stays are expected to decrease. Telehealth, which is one of the submarkets of home health technologies, is expected to decrease readmission rates for post-acute patients at an average of 12% over the next five years,” says Roashan. “Also, the American Heart Association estimated that 85% of doctor visits can be avoided through telemedicine, which is remote consultation.”