Home medical equipment refers to medical devices intended for use in a patient’s home to aid patients recovering from an illness, injury, or surgery. This includes products such as wheelchairs, walkers, oxygen supplies, CPAP machines, and home monitoring devices.
The global home medical equipment market is primarily driven by the growing geriatric population across the world which is more prone to chronic diseases and disabilities. As per the United Nations report, the population aged 60 years and above is expected to double from 12% to 22% between 2015 and 2050. This has increased the demand for home healthcare services. Additionally, favorable reimbursement policies for home healthcare and rising preference for home care over hospital care due to cost-effectiveness is also fueling the market growth. Furthermore, advancement in technology has led to development of compact and portable home medical equipment which has enhanced convenience.
Increasing Awareness About Importance of Home Healthcare
With the rise in chronic diseases and aging population, people are becoming more aware about importance of home healthcare. Diseases such as diabetes, cardiovascular diseases and respiratory diseases require constant monitoring of vital health parameters. Home medical equipment allows patients to conveniently monitor their health at home with devices such as blood pressure monitors, glucose monitors, oxygen concentrators etc. This enables early detection of health complications and improves management of diseases. Healthcare professionals are also encouraging home healthcare as it reduces burden on hospitals and provides comfort of home to patients. Various health awareness campaigns by government and medical organizations have increased focus on benefits of home healthcare.
Rising Healthcare Costs
Escalating healthcare costs have become a big challenge for individuals and governments globally. Treatment and management of chronic diseases requires long term care which increases medical expenditure tremendously. Home medical equipment provides an affordable alternative to costly hospital stays or frequent visits to clinics. Devices such as nebulizers, cardiac monitors and mobility aids help patients to receive necessary care while reducing financial burden. It allows shifting of treatment from expensive inpatient setting to more affordable home setting. This has boosted adoption of home medical equipment as it offers significant healthcare cost savings.
Lack of Physician Acceptance
While home healthcare seems ideal from patient perspective, lack of physician acceptance remains a key restrain. Many doctors still prefer conventional treatment approaches involving hospital or clinic visits over home healthcare. This is due to various reasons such as lack of direct supervision, difficulty in remote monitoring of patients and medico legal risks involved. Doctors also have apprehensions about reliability of home use and quality of care delivered without physical examination. Unless concerns of medical fraternity are addressed, full potential of home healthcare cannot be unlocked. Concerted efforts are required to educate physicians about benefits, safety standards and remote monitoring technologies available with home medical devices.
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Emergence of Telehealth
Telehealth technologies have opened new opportunities for home medical equipment market. Technologies such as remote patient monitoring devices, mhealth apps and tele-ICU have enabled virtual consultation and remote care delivery. Integration of home medical devices with telehealth solutions allows real time data transmission to clinics/hospitals. Physicians can remotely track patient vitals, symptoms progression, medication adherence. This addresses doctor’s concern about remote supervision and quality control. Telehealth resolves geographical barriers improving access to healthcare. It also enhances efficiency of care delivery through features like automated alerts, video consults and chronic disease management programs. Collaboration of equipment manufacturers with telehealth companies will help maximise utility of home medical devices.
Increase in Telehealth and Remote Patient Monitoring Adoption
The COVID-19 pandemic led to a surge in telehealth and remote patient monitoring adoption globally. Social distancing norms created a demand for contactless healthcare delivery methods. This benefited home medical equipment manufacturers as hospitals expanded remote monitoring programs using devices such as glucose meters, Blood pressure monitors, pulse oximeters, weight scales etc. Going forward, there is likely to be sustained growth in telehealth owing to its advantages of safety, convenience and cost effectiveness. This secular trend will play out as a long term growth driver for home medical equipment market. Telehealth providers and insurers are actively working on models to cover costs for remote monitoring devices further propelling the market opportunities.
1. Source: Coherent Market Insights, Public sources, Desk research
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