The aging population within many nations has huge implications for healthcare providers, as costs continue to rise and qualified staff remain in short supply. Technology can help to increase productivity and improve the quality of services. Moreover, mobile communications, the public internet and software are all likely to have a positive impact on remote monitoring applications.
The connected hospital patient monitoring equipment market consisting primarily of blood pressure monitors, pulse oximeters, and electrocardiogram monitors is set to grow at a 21.1 percent CAGR between 2014 and 2020, according to the latest market study by ABI Research.
This increase is driven largely by government regulations and increasing demand in developed markets from a wider hospital patient population.
These connected devices not only improve the reliability of patient monitoring but also improve caregiver workflow automation through integration with patient electronic health records.
"The large growth rate is due to the fact that less than 15 percent of these devices are connected today," said Ryan Harbison, research analyst at ABI Research.
And although connecting patient monitoring equipment can potentially unlock immense value in the healthcare industry, other solution elements are required to maximize the potential of device data.
According to the ABI assessment, over 90 percent of hospitals in the United States have both a wireless network and an electronic medical record system.
However, those same hospitals need to ensure they have a reliable network infrastructure in place capable of managing the large data loads generated by these connected medical devices.
Additionally, hospitals need to continue to invest in big data and analytics solutions that will allow healthcare providers to generate actionable insights and treatment plans from this data.
Other factors that are likely holding back adoption are concerns about patient data privacy, IT security, and regulatory approval of new Internet of Things (IoT) related medical devices.
"Despite initial reservations, some of the bigger healthcare suppliers have invested early in this space," adds Dan Shey, vice president at ABI Research.
General Electric's CARESCAPE Network allows caregivers to centrally monitor patients, while the Philips IntelliBridge Enterprise software collects and analyzes patient data to detect anomalies and provide more comprehensive monitoring.
ABI believes that other companies -- such as Welch Allyn, Spacelabs Healthcare, and Smiths Medical -- are also well positioned to take advantage of this emerging market with their products and associated services.