As the number of people using home health care technologies is expected to swell to 78.5 million over the next five years, so too will the market for “hubs” that collect and transmit data from these devices, says a report released this week.
Home health hubs, also called home health gateways, will be a growing part of the technology market, according to the report “Home Health Hubs” from independent research and consulting firm Tractica.
These devices and applications use wireless connectivity to aggregate information from disparate sources such as home monitoring equipment, wearable devices and standalone health and wellness devices. The hubs, or gateways, also store and transmit the gathered information.
The market for these technologies can be broken down into two types of home health hubs: standalone devices and downloadable applications that reside on mobile and wearable devices such as smartphones, tablets and smart watches.
Both market segments are poised for extraordinary growth in the coming year, according to projections in the Tractica report.
By 2020, standalone home health hub shipments are projected to increase from approximately 150,000 in 2014 to nearly 1.6 million annually. During that same timeframe, Tractica forecasts that mobile and wearable home health hub application downloads will grow from 196,000 to almost 17.3 million.
The primary factors driving these projections are largely the same as those fueling the increased utilization of home health tech as a whole, which is the need to reduce or contain health care costs while simultaneously improving patient outcomes, said Charul Vyas, principal analyst of the report.
“Other drivers include the increasing number of individuals with chronic conditions, aging populations, increased interest in health and wellness tracking, and the need to effectively analyze and use the health data collected outside a clinical setting,” Vyas said in a written statement.
Several barriers remain that can hinder future growth of these technologies, including a lack of consumer and broader health care industry awareness of home health hubs and the value that these devices and applications can provide.
For standalone hubs specifically, price is a consideration, Tractica notes, as well as usability and acceptance among consumers and medical professionals alike.
Even today a significant share of physicians are skeptical that certain technologies can have a positive impact on treatment decisions and improving health outcomes.
But even so, high levels of health care spending in the U.S. will make North America the leading region for shipments of technologies like standalone home health hubs by 2020, according to Tractica’s projections. Over the forecast period of 2014-2020, North America is expected to experience a compound annual growth rate of 43.8% .
Unlike the market for standalone home health hubs, the market for mobile and wearable hub applications is not as strongly concentrated in the North American market.
“This is largely due to the fact that smartphone penetration is high in a variety of regions, easing the barriers to entry and the price points for application-based health hubs,” writes Tractica.
While there are a number of uses for home health hubs, Tractica believes the majority of activity, particularly for standalone hubs, will center around individuals with chronic conditions.
“For such applications, the primary motivators will be to decrease the high cost of treating individuals with chronic conditions and the desire to reduce these costs, while at the same time improving outcomes,” writes Tractica.
Written by Jason Oliva