- The healthcare industry is facing a large number of challenges over the coming years, including doctor shortages, the onslaught of federal regulations such as meaningful use incentives, the recently implemented ICD-10 coding system, and the rising number of patients due to the aging Baby Boomer population and widespread healthcare coverage. However, new technologies including remote monitoring applications could be key in reversing past trends of low quality care.
When it comes to the chronic conditions of the elderly community and the Baby Boomer population, remote monitoring tools could track vital signs and overall health among these patients while they reside at home and help doctors intervene when certain levels – such as blood pressure, body temperature, or heart rate – are subpar.
According to a report from Frost & Sullivan, the geriatric healthcare market is becoming more prominent throughout the industry, as it brings a higher need for remote monitoring technology and wearable devices due to the many medical conditions found throughout the elderly and Baby Boomer population.
“The world is moving from ‘sick care’ to ‘healthcare’ and this trend has the made aged care market one of the most challenging and attractive markets in 2015,” the report began. “Older people today are healthier, wealthier, and more active than in the past, making them a huge resource that countries must not waste. The market is growing, as nations are greying faster.”
A wide variety of fields are impacted due to the rising numbers of elderly patients including pharmaceutical companies, long-term care facilities, robotics and software businesses, and mobile health device manufacturers.
The Frost & Sullivan report details that the number of elderly patients will rise significantly starting in 2020 and the years beyond. With the rising number of patients due to the Affordable Care Act expanding coverage as well as the Baby Boomer population aging, the costs of medical care will likely increase significantly.
Along with doctor shortages, this rise in patient numbers could be devastating to long-term care facilities, nursing homes, and geriatric services. However, remote monitoring technologies, wearable devices, and mobile health applications could be key to keeping healthcare costs stable.
The report from Frost & Sullivan also mentions that many elderly and aging people may search to move to other nations in order to obtain the healthcare services they require. The federal government may need to search for incentives to bring medical career interests toward younger generations.
Additionally, the mobile health market has shown that it could benefit geriatric care significantly. For example, companies have been creating new technologies capable of managing the health and reducing risks among elderly patients. mHealthIntelligence.com reported on wearable devices capable of tracking older patients in ways to reduce their likelihood of falling.
“Most wrist worn wearable devices cannot accurately detect activity of elderly people with limited mobility. Therefore caregivers have limited visibility to patients’ activities outside of the clinic, where most of the time is spent,” David Vigano, CEO and Co-Founder of Sensoria, said in a public statement. “By embedding our proprietary textile sensors into this fall prevention device, clinicians can now gain access to patients’ activity level and improve care delivery.”
Past reports have also found that greater adoption of smart wearable devices will continue growing significantly over the next several years. These increases are also stimulated by the growing elderly population.
“An increase in aging populations and chronic diseases is expected to play a pivotal role in boosting demand for smart wearable healthcare devices,” the Global Smart Wearable Healthcare Devices and Services Market 2015-2019 report stated.
“High life expectancy has led to increased aging populations in North America and Western Europe; several chronic diseases such as diabetes, arthritis, cancer, obesity, heart diseases, asthma, and COPDs have increased in these regions. Consequently, monitoring the health conditions and daily activities of the elderly, especially the baby boomers, has become essential.”