With an increasing number of consumers investing in physical well-being, personal care or home healthcare medical devices are witnessing a huge surge in terms of demand and sales. Reduced service time or shorter hospital stays can considerably reduce the overall expenditure on healthcare by the patients. The traditionally prevalent doctor-patient monitoring system is one of the major cost factors associated with healthcare expenditure adding a huge financial burden on the patients and their families. For instance, after a patient has undergone a surgery, he can be shifted to his home which is a much low cost treatment environment and mobile health devices such as home monitors of different kinds can be used to monitor his health parameters. This can considerably reduce the financial burden on the patients and their families. With the formal healthcare system becoming increasingly stressed, patients are being discharged from healthcare facilities while still needing some amount of care. Home care medical devices prove immensely helpful in such cases where patients can efficiently manage their own health in non-institutional settings.
Medical devices used in home care settings need to be appropriate for the environment in which they are used and for the people using them. These people may be layperson or professional caregivers or the recipients themselves. These people may have distinct cognitive, sensory, physical, and emotional characteristics. Environments may vary in terms of accessibility of utilities, amount of available space, humidity and temperature levels and noise and light levels. All these factors have to be considered in order to ensure that the medical devices are effective and safe for the people receiving home care. The most common home healthcare devices are first aid equipment including thermometers, bandages, heating pads and ace bandages. Users of medical devices in home healthcare are a diverse set of people. Some are professional care-givers such as nurses, physicians, occupational therapists and homecare aides. They are typically associated with homecare organizations or may operate as independent providers. Others are amateur care-givers who may be family members or friends of the patients receiving care. Some recipients may operate the devices themselves.
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The key factors responsible for the growth of home healthcare market are the growing geriatric population, increasing cases of chronic disorders, and increased demand for affordable healthcare owing to ever increasing costs of institutional healthcare. According to a 2015 report by World Health Organization, the elderly population over the age of 60 is expected to double by 2050. With increased life expectancy the risk of suffering from chronic diseases also increases considerably. As elder people require more time to recover from an illness, the home healthcare alternative is favorable for providing care to these patients. Also, rising consumer expectations about the convenience of medical treatment have resulted in an increased demand for home care medical devices and equipment. However, factors such as safety concerns related to patients and limited insurance coverage are expected to hamper the growth of home healthcare market.
Developing healthcare devices which can be easily and efficiently operated in home care settings and which ensure patient safety in such environments, holds favorable future prospects for the home healthcare market. With rising demand for effective yet low cost home healthcare devices by the patients, providers are aggressively investing time and resources in product advancement and development.
The key players in the home healthcare market focus on product development aided by technological advancements to develop more sophisticated and patient centric home healthcare products in order to capture a larger share of the market. For instance, in November 2014, Intel-GE Care Innovations, LLC (a joint venture between Intel and General Electric) launched the telehealth technology system Health Harmony. This advanced platform enables clinicians, family care givers, and patients to collaborate in order to improve the level of healthcare being provided to the patient.
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Some of the major players in the home healthcare market are Abbott, B. Braun Melsungen AG, Sunrise Medical GmbH, Medtronic plc., 3M Health Care, Cardinal Health Inc., Arcadia Healthcare Solutions, F. Hoffmann-La Roche Ltd., Bayer AG, NxStage Medical, Inc., Amedisys, Inc., ARKRAY Inc., Odyssey Healthcare Inc., Becton Dickinson and Company, and National Healthcare Corporation.
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