Mhealth solutions to become standard in remote patient monitoring: IHS

Innovative product development and streamlining procurement initiatives look set to dominate the medical devices landscape in 2014, as healthcare organizations try to reduce spiraling healthcare expenditure, according to new research from IHS Technology.

In a series of predictions about healthcare technology in 2014, the market-research company said that efforts to reduce healthcare expenditure had already led to a reduction in hospital visits, with patients being treated outside the hospital environment through the use of remote monitoring technology.

However, telehealth development is heavily dependent on external economic factors, and specifically reimbursement – notes IHS Technology – and a decline in reimbursement has resulted in reduced uptake, with the high upfront cost of equipment also restricting growth.

A more positive development has been the recent emergence of mobile health hubs, such as tablets and smartphones that work as gateways for peripheral devices and cost one third of the price of a conventional health hub.

While the current volume of mobile health hubs represents a fraction of the total amount of health hubs, IHS Technology expects mobile telehealth solutions to become the standard in remote patient monitoring.

As a result, it says, the number of patients treated through telehealth will rise from 482,700 in 2013 to about 725,000 in 2014.

IHS Technology is forecasting that healthcare expenditure in the US will exceed $3 trillion by the end of 2017.