Developments in the Internet and the Internet of Things (IoT) will propel strong growth in industries related to smart healthcare in 2016. According to global market research firm TrendForce, worldwide spending on smart healthcare services (e.g. telemonitoring, diagnostic equipment, assisted living and bio-data tracking) will reach US$30 billion in 2018, growing at a CAGR of 60% from 2016 to 2018.
TrendForce IoT analyst Jimmy Liu said progress made in smart healthcare applications will not only benefit the medical industry but other related industries as well, including robotics, cloud computing and medical equipment. Currently a diverse range of new technologies are enhancing the overall quality of healthcare services.
The following is a summary of major trends in the smart healthcare market in 2016:
Smart technologies will reduce the growing cost pressure of caring for an aging population and raise the standard for medical services
The gradual arrival of an aging society (some even call the trend “hyper-aged society”) has an enormous impact on the entire structure of the medical industry. Liu pointed out that smart technologies will help transform healthcare services so that they will become more flexible and open. Major changes will be related to where services are provided (i.e. clinical and non-clinical care) and the choice of services offered (i.e. physician-patient relationship). For example, electronic medical record systems and disease information platforms advance the paperless operations of hospitals.
Cloud computing, robotics and medical equipment are emerging technologies that will find lucrative applications in smart healthcare
A cloud-based healthcare system will use available information and communication technologies (ICT) to integrate the four major services – treatment, health management, medical care and preventative medicine – onto a single platform. Such a solution will greatly improve the overall management of patient reports and personal medical records. TrendForce estimates that the market scale of cloud-based healthcare systems will reach US$7 billion in 2016.
Nursing care robots are another major source of opportunities in the smart healthcare industry. Developments in this type of robots will concentrate on assistive care as well as communication and companionship features. In the medical equipment industry, there is now a shift to the production of high-end products. In the future, medical equipment manufacturers will work towards the in-house development of critical components and materials and the integration of hard- and software. Their immediate aims are to unify their product solutions systematically, revolutionize their business models and promote brand-based services.
Smart healthcare sets to optimize care management, personalized treatment and advance preventative medicine
The Internet and IoT provide massive amounts of data that can be processed by ICT technologies and big data analytics. This unrestricted flow of different kinds of information benefits both the medical industry and recipients of health services. The industry can devise better tools while service recipients will gain extensive knowledge of their own health conditions. With more data on hand, staff at health facilities will be able to create personalized services with individual consumers. Illness prevention will also move closer towards realization.