Medical Wearables: Potential to change the doctor-patient interactions
“The market for medical wearable devices is expected to reach ~₹230-250 Cr. by 2020”
A medical wearable device is a device that is worn by a person and is used to track the physiological details of a medical condition. These devices, strapped onto or even embedded in patients, can feed a continuous stream of data that can alert healthcare professionals to an impending heart attack, stroke or other potential incident. Though the current market of these devices in India is very small, the future looks very promising.
Currently, the medical wearable industry is still in a nascent stage with revenues between ₹ 80-90 Cr. in 2016 and is expected to grow at a CAGR of 30-40% annually going forward as well.
In terms of the type of devices, the market is broadly divided into two categories: Diagnostic devices and Therapeutic devices.
• Diagnostic devices are further classified into heart rate monitors, activity monitors, sleep monitor, electrocardiograph, fetal monitor and obstetric devices, and neuromonitoring devices.
• Therapeutic devices have been further classified into vital sign monitors, pain management devices, glucose-insulin monitoring devices, and respiratory therapy devices.
Currently, diagnostic devices are more popular in India. In terms of revenue, the split between diagnostic devices and therapeutic devices is estimated to be 60:40. However, in terms of the number of units sold, the split shifts to 75:25 in favor of diagnostic devices. Though the number of units sold for therapeutic devices is much less than that of diagnostic devices, the higher prices of the therapeutic device make up for the revenue.
Though the medical wearable industry is currently very small in size, there is a great opportunity for various stakeholders in the future. Based on our research, opportunities for the following stakeholders came out strikingly:
Big data is slowly entering the Indian healthcare landscape. Different healthcare players are now realizing the value of combining consumer insights and internal company data to inform and optimize their product offerings, and are accordingly increasing investments in the necessary tools.
RESEARCH AND CLINICAL LABORATORIES
Wearable devices provide a unique opportunity for research laboratories to use real-time, long-term patient monitoring data for research purposes. These devices will also help laboratories to reduce the cost of clinical trials.
There is a great demand in the industry for higher accuracy devices, which can cater to complex medical conditions and also provide therapeutic functionality. Pharma companies with their massive storage of historical disease knowledge can come up with these devices.
Healthcare institutions offer several types of services to patients. They can create an ecosystem which uses readings from various devices and services to provide integrated healthcare solutions. This will also help the industry check the high drop-out rate.
Medical wearable industry is currently at development phase in India and is expected to grow at a very fast rate in the future. It is a perfect time for investors to invest and grab a piece of this rapidly evolving market.
Developing countries such as India comprise largely of rural population, with limited access to HCPs and low per capita spend on healthcare. Medical wearable devices can help government increase access to healthcare for remote and rural populations by providing point-of-care diagnostics, teleconsultation and e-prescription capabilities. Also, these devices will bring in the preventive mind set and with their monitoring capabilities will help in reducing the healthcare costs.
Authors – Sandeep Divakar and Mohit Kabra