Technology has been pivotal factor for transformation of the global health care sector. Over the last decade, advancements in the electronics and information technology have occurred at a rapid pace leading to the development of innovative wireless devices and supporting technologies. These changes have enabled easy communication even at the remotest place. The effect of wireless technology on modern society has been profound and healthcare sector, a niche segment, is poised to benefit from the adoption of wireless communications / technologies. Internet and mobile are the major developments that have made major impact on healthcare industry through wireless communications/technologies. The evolution of healthcare industry from traditional paper-record keeping to electronic records has increased the need of wireless communications / technologies in healthcare sector. Moreover, the high cost incurred for installing wired devices in the hospitals has allowed increasing adoption of wireless technologies. Patient information is often scattered in many locations and is unavailable when needed. Wireless technologies that are properly integrated into hospital and practice systems can streamline the physician’s or clinician’s work and even provide up-to-date evidence based treatment plans for the patients.
The global market for wireless communications / technologies in healthcare can be segmented on the basis of networking technologies utilized. The technologies used include Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, Radio-frequency identification (RFID), Zigbee, Ultra Wideband (UWB), Z-Wave, Wireless Wide Area Network (WWAN), and Worldwide Interoperability for Microwave Access (Wimax). The use of wireless technologies has many applications for medical device communications in various healthcare settings. Medical application includes e-prescription, alarm notifications, real-time waveform delivery, telehealth, clinical trial management, sales force management, etc. The wireless technology in healthcare is more of networking patient with the health care service provider or the caregiver. “Networked patient” technology along with wireless communication connects patients and their treatment devices with healthcare support professionals which can help in monitoring medication adherence, reduction in treatment costs, and increase access to and interaction with the healthcare professionals. For instance, a heart patient with mobile monitor device, sends continuous ECG data to doctor and the doctor can immediately attend the patient in case of abnormal ECG data. The elderly people can receive medication reminders at required timings through their mobile phones which avoid missing the dose or regimen.
On the basis of geography, the global wireless communications technologies market for healthcare applications can be segmented into four major regions, North America, Europe, Asia Pacific and Rest of the World. The market for wireless technologies in healthcare applications for North America and Europe region is large due to well developed infrastructure and healthcare system. However, Asia Pacific is expected to witness highest growth rate during the forecast period from 2014 to 2020 owing to large base of potential customers in major developing countries such as China and India. The aging population in Japan has also led to the increasing uptake of products based on wireless communication technology. The lack of harmonization among the wireless medical devices of different companies and also presence of uneven regulations in different countries constitutes a single major hindrance for the market growth.
Some of the key players in the global market for wireless communications / technologies in healthcare include Alcatel-Lucent Sa, Apple, Inc., Allscripts Healthcare Solutions, Inc., Cerner Corp., Cisco Systems, Inc., Philips Healthcare, Hewlett-Packard Company, IBM Corp., Intel Corp., Mckesson Corp., Motorola Solutions, Inc., Qualcomm, Inc., Verizon Communications, Inc., Siemens Healthcare, and Vocera Communications, Inc.
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