Making a Mark in Patient Monitoring

27 May 2009 (Last Updated May 27th, 2009 18:30)

The patient monitoring market is fast expanding. A new report by GlobalData show just how profitable the sector could be once it overcomes a few crucial challenges.

Making a Mark in Patient Monitoring

The patient monitoring market is an expanding and profitable sector in the global healthcare industry. A new report by GlobalData, Global Patient Monitoring Market Analysis and Forecasts to 2015, shows the global patient monitoring market to be valued at $4.9bn in 2008. Driven by the rise of the chronic disease population, the market is forecast to grow by 3.8% annually during until 2015 to reach
$7.2bn.

Driving growth in the patient monitoring market are wireless and ambulatory monitoring and micro electromechanical systems, promoted by an increased desire for flexibility. Together, these accounted for 24.9% of the overall market in 2008.

Globally, the US remains the largest patient monitoring market. In 2008, it was valued at $2.4bn and is forecast to grow by 4.3% annually during 2008 to 2015, to reach $3.6bn. However, with most of the demand originating from the emerging economies, the centre of the global patient monitoring market activity is up for a huge shift. India and China are forecast to grow faster than the average, driven by rise in the number of hospitals and large chronic disease populations.

Philips Medical Systems, GE Healthcare and Omron Healthcare remain the leading competitors in the sector. Together, these companies accounted for 39.6% of the global market share in 2008. Philips remained the market leader with a share of 14.6%. However, with multiple new products expected to hit the market in the next few years, a shift in the prevailing competitive landscape can not be ruled out.

Remote patient monitors are a massive area of growth. They are used in conjunction with a device that is implanted in the body. This is a recent technology that has been commercially applied only to the cardiovascular market, specifically to pacemakers and ICDs.

"Philips Medical Systems, GE Healthcare and Omron Healthcare remain the leading competitors in the sector."

This category exhibited double-digit growth in the past and is expected to continue this trend in the future. Though currently restricted to the cardiovascular market, this will soon expand to include gynaecology and the diabetes market.

Demand for effective monitoring products and increased acceptance of technologies aimed at the homecare setting will be the key factors influencing and driving the penetration of products currently in pipeline.

The market opportunity being significantly high, the products and technology landscape could see the emergence of multiple new companies with a stronger pipeline portfolio.

Reimbursement, lack of awareness and limited innovation remain the key challenges but awareness, affordability and an ever-improving health infrastructure in the emerging economies (coupled with ageing population growth) should ensure that the global patient monitoring market continues to grow at a steady pace.

European efforts

While the US market remains the biggest sector, the European remote patient monitoring market is being driven by the vast proportion of individuals with chronic diseases. However, the limited reimbursement provided by the government presents a challenge to device manufacturers.

To combat this, the European Commission has started a mobile healthcare project called MobiHealth. The MobiHealth consortium consists of 14 partners from five European countries. Partners include hospitals and medical service providers, universities, mobile network operators, mobile application service providers and mobile infrastructure and hardware suppliers.

The MobiHealth system enables patients to be fully mobile while undergoing health monitoring. The patients wear a lightweight monitoring system – the MobiHealth BAN (Body Area Network) – which is customised to individual health needs.

Trials have been carried out throughout Europe. In the Netherlands there has been intense monitoring of high-risk pregnant women where paramedics wear the BAN systems to enable faster communication. In Germany, telemonitoring of patients with cardiac arrhythmias has been carried out to allow detection of arrhythmic patterns without the need for hospitalisation. Meanwhile, Spain has focused on patient rehabilitation in the homecare scenario. This has provided information on patient exercise and vital sign information to the online physiotherapist, who in turn provides feedback and advice.

"While the US remains the biggest sector, the European remote patient monitoring market is being driven by the vast proportion of individuals with chronic diseases."

Readdressing reimbursement

The expansion of the homecare segment, overcrowding in hospitals and increased demand for continuous care for the elderly is leading to growth in the remote patient monitoring market. However, the lack of reimbursement for remote patient monitoring equipment is proving a restraint.

Of late, various organisations have been lobbying for the inclusion of remote monitoring and homecare devices for reimbursement, and it is likely that there will be favourable legislation in the future.

Factors supporting such an initiative include reduced costs for hospitals and care providers and demand for chronic patient care outweighing the availability of hospital beds. Labour shortages to provide patient care and the reduced cost to insurance companies are also making the policies a priority to politicians.

The trade body, the Advanced Medical Technology Association (AdvaMed), is supporting the Passage of the Remote Monitoring Access Act of 2007 that is pending in the US senate. This bill would require Medicare to reimburse doctors for remote monitoring of patients. AdvaMed indicates telehealth, tele-homecare and remote monitoring to be one of the only economically viable ways to manage an ageing population, the prevalence of chronic disease and the growing constraints on healthcare
spending.

This report was produced by GlobalData. For further reports and information visit www.globaldata.com