According to new a report from analyst firm Berg Insight, around 2.2 million patients worldwide were using a home monitoring service with integrated connectivity at the end of 2011. The firm forecasts that the number of home monitoring systems with integrated communication capabilities will grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 18% between 2012 and 2016 reaching 4.9 million connections globally.
The figure does not include patients that use monitoring devices connected to a PC or mobile phone; but only includes systems that rely on monitors with integrated connectivity or systems that use monitoring hubs with integrated cellular or fixed-line modems, says Berg Insight  (Gothenburg, Sweden).
The number of these devices that have integrated cellular connectivity increased from 0.42 million in 2010 to about 0.57 million in 2011, and is projected to grow at a CAGR of 34.6% to 2.47 million in 2016.
Some of the most common conditions being monitored today  are chronic diseases including cardiac arrhythmia, sleep apnea, diabetes and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). These conditions cause substantial costs and reduce both life expectancy and quality of life, says Berg Insights.
It is estimated that more than 200 million people in the Europe and the United States suffer from one or several chronic diseases where home monitoring can become a treatment option.
“Home monitoring solutions that can communicate over a cellular network, landline connection or the Internet have already reached significant volumes within cardiac rhythm management, integrated telehealth solutions, sleep therapy and cardiac event monitoring”, says Lars Kurkinen, Telecom Analyst, Berg Insight. He adds that connectivity is gaining momentum in several other segments as well, such as glucose meters and medication adherence systems.
Leveraging connectivity technologies in the healthcare industry can lead to decreased costs, more efficient care delivery and improved sustainability of the healthcare system, says Berg Insights. Progress is being made in the adoption of wireless technology among manufacturers of medical monitoring equipment. However, there is still a long way to go before remote monitoring becomes a standard practice in the healthcare sector, according to the research firm.