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Healthcare spend on wearables to reach $40bn: Juniper

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Juniper predicts a medical wearable boom.
Juniper predicts a medical wearable boom.

Global annual spending on wearable technologies in the healthcare sector is forecast to reach $20 billion by 2023, boosted by increased use of monitoring and hearing devices.

This is according to the Digital Health: Disruptor Analysis, Country Readiness & Technology Forecasts 2018-2023, conducted by Juniper Research.

The report found wearable devices, including health trackers and remote patient monitoring technology, are set to become 'must haves' in delivering healthcare, with the hearables device sector alone expected to increase the annual revenue to over $40 billion by 2022.

"Adoption of healthcare wearables will be driven by improvements in remote patient monitoring technology, in addition to increased adoption by medical institutions. Juniper forecasts that 5 million individuals will be remotely monitored by healthcare providers by 2023," notes the report.

Meanwhile, research firm Markets and Markets expects the hearable devices market to be worth $23 billion by 2023, growing at a compound annual growth rate of 10%.

According to Markets and Markets, the growth of the hearable devices market is mainly driven by the growing demand for health monitoring applications and hearing aids, as well as high investment in research and development for hearables by original equipment manufacturers (OEMs).

Gartner forecasts worldwide spending on wearable devices to reach $42 billion by 2022. Of that, $16.2 billion will be on smartwatches.

AI used to identify conditions

Artificial intelligence (AI) in wearable devices is expected to take the healthcare industry by storm, as more tools are adopted to help health organisations improve their service, optimise the standard of care, reduce risk, and generate more revenue, according to Juniper Research.

"Advanced ability of AI-enabled software analytics will be used to proactively identify individuals at risk of their condition worsening, [and this] will witness increased confidence among medical practitioners and regulators with regard to sensor accuracy."

Service revenue opportunity

"As wearables become part of patients' treatment plans, OEMs will seek to adjust their business models and generate revenue from the monitoring of the wearable devices. For example, selling data produced by the devices to insurance providers," notes Juniper.

The report forecasts service revenue of this nature will reach $855 million by 2023.

Research author Michael Larner explains: "It is vital that patients are made aware of how their personal data will be used. If not, making wearables a 'must have' to provide personalised care or receive medical insurance risks a backlash from patients and heightened regulatory scrutiny, stalling the effectiveness of remote monitoring."

As data privacy and consent continue to be significant barriers, some insurance providers will be expected to change their dynamics in order to abide by data privacy laws, notes Juniper.

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