Remote Patient Monitoring Isn’t Just for the Elderly
Remote patient monitoring is poised for massive growth, thanks to convergent trends around health conditions in various demographics and both healthcare and personal technology. While specific figures vary, research is consistent in projecting significant growth in the coming years. Research and Markets expects the market to reach $31.3 billion by 2023, and Goldstein Research puts the market at $48.5 billion by 2024.
The question is, who will drive this massive growth that represents doubling and tripling of the market’s value in 2017? The truth is each of the three largest generations will have a significant role in driving adoption.
There’s no question the Baby Boomer generation, which is currently the largest single population group in the United States, will play a key role. Not only are its oldest members reaching their 70s, which carries with it inherent health considerations, but Baby Boomers are generally less healthy than the generation preceding them. They exhibit much lower rates of reported “excellent health,” higher rates of obesity and chronic disease, and significantly less physical activity.
All of this points to a greater demand for healthcare services, which will put tremendous strain on the system without a substantial increase in the adoption of remote patient monitoring. RPM will not only reduce that strain, but it comes with the added benefit of allowing Baby Boomers to receive healthcare services and manage their chronic conditions at home. According to the AARP, 86% of adults older than 65 want to stay in their homes or communities as they age. Vital statistics monitoring, location tracking devices, automated reminders, online portals, remote consultations, and other RPM and telehealth solutions allow them to do exactly that while managing their conditions effectively.
Next year, Millennials are projected to overtake Baby boomers as the largest population group, and it’s already become the largest segment of the U.S. workforce. As the first generation of digital natives, Millennials have driven technology adoption across all markets, including healthcare, and it’s no coincidence that as this group has entered the workforce, the use of wearable devices to track fitness and health statistics has more than tripled (from 9% in 2014 to 33% today). In the past two years, as Millennials have also become their own healthcare decision makers, the use of technology as a healthcare management tool has also increased in several other areas:
- Use of mobile devices to manage health (46% vs. 36%)
- Accessing EHRs (38% vs. 27%)
- Social media as a healthcare tool (35% vs. 23%)
- Smart scales (27% vs. 15%)
- Online communications (25% vs. 14%)
- Remote consultations (16% vs. 12%)
- Remote monitoring (14% vs. 9%)
Millennials are driving remote monitoring from a very different angle – general wellness and preventative care. This is a generation more focused on its own wellness, including better eating habits, regular exercise, and lower rates of alcohol consumption and cigarette smoking. Because they are also much more inclined to share data – a function of growing up in a social media dominated society – they allow physicians and medical researchers to aggregate data and develop effective preventative care and maintenance strategies that will benefit many.
Caught between Baby Boomers and Millennials, Gen Xers find themselves managing three generations of healthcare – their parents’ and their children, in addition to their own. That, alone, is a case for the convenience, expediency, and cost effectiveness of remote patient monitoring to help alleviate some of the strain of being responsible for the care of three generations.
As part of the workforce during the rise of digital technology and having raised digital natives, Gen Xers have become hyper-connected and aware of the technology around them. While they still place value on personal communication, they tend to leverage technology in cases where it provides value or convenience. As a result, Gen Xers are likely to buy into the concepts that are already driving RPM, including access to physicians and specialists, improved logistics, better outcomes, and more involvement.
The value of remote patient monitoring extends to each of these three population groups, and each of them will have a role in driving its growth. The one factor that must accompany RPM, however, is consistent communication between patients and physicians to discuss results, treatment adjustments, and potential issues. That’s where a complete telehealth solution comes into play as a support structure for remote monitoring.
For more information on implementing a remote patient monitoring strategy into your organization, click here.