‘Consumerisation’ of Digital Health
Health care focused smartphone interfaces launched by Samsung and Apple will be instrumental in propelling the global health care accessory hardware market to $3 billion by 2019, according to a new report from Juniper Research.
The report, “Digital Health: Remote Monitoring, Smart Accessories & EHR Cost Savings 2014-2019,” argues that greater visibility and availability of health care smartphone platforms will encourage independent device manufacturers to launch a wider array of increasingly sophisticated mHealth products. Such devices include blood pressure cuffs, oximeters for diabetes and sleep monitors for sleep apnoea.
However, the report observes that although Apple’s HealthKit and Samsung’s SAMI (Samsung Architecture for Multimodal Interactions) user interfaces will popularise consumer digital health, they could also impact the opportunity for bespoke remote patient monitoring devices. Report author Anthony Cox noted that, “as health platforms support more medical devices, rather than just today’s fitness trackers, they will usurp the territory occupied by chronic disease monitoring companies.”
ObamaCare offers digital health opportunity
The report also notes that, driven by aging populations and increased chronic disease incidence, ObamaCare is bringing about a re-think in how health care needs should be addressed, with the medical profession increasingly considering the role of digital health. This will manifest itself in several ways including:
- Health care companies investing in major digital health care players such as Epocrates and AirStrip;
- Advanced EHR (Electronic Health Records) becoming the ‘glue’ to create wider digital health ecosystems; and,
- Regulatory authorities embracing the role of digital health and imposing less stringent regulatory obligations on digital health companies
It found that despite a more positive outlook for the digital health industry’s future, widespread, well-documented trials are still needed to galvanize take-up of remote patient monitoring projects. Furthermore questions remain over how digital health care projects will be reimbursed.