The Promise Of Remote Patient Monitoring: Opportunities For Healthcare Entrepreneurs

By Marc Toth, CMAA

Volume 3 Issue 12 June 7, 2016

tt152-25c7fa39-bd3f-4003-9a16-58abf0e555fd-v2There is no question that healthcare technology plays a significant role in our ongoing healthcare revolution. Innovation in many areas, from telemedicine to electronic health records (EHRs), is driving an increasingly digitized virtual healthcare environment that is improving individual care, lowering costs, and ultimately impacting population health.

Within this world is the growing case for remote patient monitoring (RPM).  RPM is a digital technology that can collect medical data from an individual in one location and electronically transmit it to another location for review, assessment, and recommendations for intervention.  Most of us are familiar with RPMs through devices such as FIT Bit, but the healthcare market potential is much greater than simply tracking your calorie burn rate.

A few examples of RPM-type devices demonstrate the variety and importance of new technology:

  • Philips’ CareSensus is a unique home care monitoring solution consisting of connected, discreet, non-camera based sensors placed strategically in a senior’s home to provide full-time monitoring of her/his daily activity.  It is paired with a tablet-based two-way video engagement tool.
  • Validic’sVitalSnap uses optical character recognition (OCR) to enable patients to use their smartphones to easily capture readings from non-connected digital health devices, such as thermometers and blood pressure cuffs, on the phone’s camera without taking a picture.
  • CareSpan’sVirtual Clinic operates within the web browser of a standard computer or iPad to unify high-resolution video communications with digital patient data, such as vital signs, images, biosensor diagnostics, and EHRs.

Based on their analysis of available data, Frost & Sullivan predict that the RPM market in the US is expected to grow an estimated 13 % annually through 2020.  It is also expected that RPM utilization will accelerate as the Millennial generation ages, since they are more likely to adopt the technology than Baby Boomers, who still prefer older, non-digitized medical care.

Given these developments, healthcare entrepreneurs and investors might want to consider the following:

  • Innovation will continue at a rapid rate with an increased role for cloud-based computing.  One example is On Track Technologies’ novel application that uses the Internet of Things to turn a smart phone or tablet into a virtual hub to collect data from medical devices.  This data can then be monitored and pushed to a variety of platforms via a monitor center platform and safety bracelet worn by the patient.
  • The investment potential for RPM devices remains significant and entrepreneurial opportunities will increase as adoption rates rise. A natural intersection of generational adoption and innovation will further increase affordability and accessibility in the next decade. The positive impact for investors will be in highly technical applications and consumer-oriented devices that will allow each of us to play an even more direct role in managing our own health.
  • RPM entrepreneurs and investors will increasingly enter this market because of constantly evolving opportunities that will influence the overall direction of healthcare not only in the US, but also worldwide. We believe this will positively influence valuations in the RPM industry and attract capital.

The celebrated American author Eric Hoffer wrote that “the only way to predict the future is to have power to shape it.” Based on what is rapidly emerging in healthcare technology generally, and with RPM specifically, the shaping is well underway.