Consumers are turning to smartphones and tablets PC to help them monitor their health. This is also leading to the consumerization of health care technology.
Consumers are increasingly using smartphone and tablet
PCs, such as the Apple iPad and the Samsung Galaxy Tab, to monitor their own
health. This, according to a Dec. 6 report from research firm Ovum, is leading
to the consumerization of health care technology.
The report "2011 Trends to Watch: Health Care
Technology" discusses how consumer health devices will increasingly appear
in the consumer market. Ovum
is a division of research firm Datamonitor.
"We expect consumers to turn to their smartphone
or tablet computer for health care advice and preventative care more and
more," Cornelia Wels-Maug, Ovum senior analyst and author of the report,
wrote in a statement.
Tablets were also recently named among the top health care sector purchases
by nonprofit IT trade
"The latest technology can play a key role and
aid this shift towards the consumerization of health care," Wels-Maug
added. "For example smartphone applications can advise on ways to lead a
healthy lifestyle, helping consumers to avoid illness in the first place.
Against a backdrop of increasing life expectancy, consumers are taking more
responsibility for safeguarding their long-term quality of life and ensuring
they continue to be healthy well into the future."
In 2011, Best Buy will sell wireless health devices in
half of its stores, according to Ovum.
"Other retailers are sure to follow this example,
and we expect a stronger uptake of medical devices aimed at the consumer during
2011," wrote Wels-Maug. "We expect uptake to [be] stronger in the U.S.,
where retailers are ahead of their European counterparts in exploring this
In its report, Ovum also forecasts strong
implementation for electronic health records (EHR) by medical professionals for
the coming year.
Patients may also increase their use of personal
health records (PHRs) if they can access them on a smartphone or tablet PC,
according to the report.
Consumer health devices allow consumers to transfer
their health information to and from Web portals such as Microsoft HealthVault,
Wels-Maug noted. People will then be able to share the data with medical
professionals, who can monitor the data remotely.
The firm also says IT firms are adopting health care
technology that will help reduce the costs of care.
"Governments are trying to remedy the enormous
cost pressure by launching initiatives to adopt the deployment of IT in order
to enable more cost-efficient health care provision that is also geared to
yield better patient outcomes," the Ovum brief states.
As consumer medical devices head to the home market,
research indicates consumers are ready to embrace health care technology.
A survey conducted by GFK Roper and commissioned by
EHR provider Practice
reveals that 62 percent of respondents with a chronic condition believed
a home medical device would help them improve their health.
Meanwhile, up to 57 percent of respondents between
ages 25 and 49 expressed interest in using home medical devices.
"Home medical devices can save the health care
system money and also enable patients to live more independently while managing
their chronic conditions," Ryan Howard, CEO of Practice Fusion, said in a
In addition to smartphones and tablets, consumer
health care devices include Bluetooth weight-monitoring scales and glucometers
to record glucose levels of diabetics.
Mood trackers also exist to help bipolar and
depression patients manage their medications, according to Practice Fusion.
The Defense Department recently unveiled an Android
version for the military called the T2 Mood Tracker