Health-Care Telemonitoring Growth is Predicted

Interest in telemonitoring is increasing because of its potential to improve the health of patients with chronic diseases.
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The world’s aging population and increasingly unhealthy lifestyles could drive rapid growth in the global health-care telemonitoring market, says a report by Espicom Business Intelligence, a publisher of health-care market analysis.

The report—Telemonitoring: Challenges & Opportunities—says interest in telemonitoring is increasing because of its potential to improve the health of patients with chronic diseases; enable people to receive care in the comfort of their own home; and reduce the number of patients that have to been seen in doctors’ offices.

Telemonitoring enables doctors to monitor a patient’s health while the patient is at home. Those systems collect vital signs and information on symptoms, medication, diet and exercise and alerts health-care providers if a patient’s health is deteriorating. The technology can be used for any disease where doctors need to regularly monitor patients, including for diabetes, heart failure, hypertension and respiratory diseases, as well as for a combination of diseases.

The World Health Organization estimates that chronic diseases now account for twice as many deaths as communicable diseases, including HIV/AIDS, TB and malaria; and that deaths due to chronic disease will increase by 17 percent over the next 10 years, therefore, the need to effectively manage those conditions has never been more pressing, the report says.

In addition to the expected increase in chronic diseases, the global economic downturn and reduced health-care budgets has health-care managers considering telemonitoring as a way of doing more for less, according to the report.

However, while telemonitoring is promising, there are several issues that are hindering its general adoption, the report says. That includes that the technology has not been shown conclusively to improve care or reduce costs and it does not yet have broad reimbursement coverage. It also requires health-care providers to change working practices and realign budgets, while patients have to want to be actively involved in the use of telemonitoring for it to work.