Competition in the Telehealth Market Set to Intensify

pie chart showing the Relative Proportions of Telehealth Gateway Transmission in 2020

Relative Proportions of Telehealth Gateway Transmission – 2020. Source: InMedica

Competition in the Telehealth Market to Intensify

PRESS RELEASE: Date: 28 November 2011

With a global revenue forecast of $990 million by 2015 (InMedica) the Telehealth market is already attracting a host of suppliers and innovators at various points in the value chain. In a new whitepaper, “Competitive Dynamics in the World Telehealth Market – 2011 to 2020”, InMedica assesses the current telehealth ecosystem and forecasts how it will change over the next ten years.

The major parts of the ecosystem include peripheral device suppliers – blood pressure monitors, glucose meters etc; gateway suppliers – health hubs and mobile gateways; and data transmission service providers – POTS, cellular and broadband.

“At the moment, suppliers in different segments of the ecosystem are effectively collaborating. However, as the market undergoes greater convergence, it is likely that direct competition between suppliers will increase”, explained Theo Ahadome, Market Analyst at InMedica.

Case in point is the relationship between gateway and peripherals suppliers.  As fixed gateway suppliers increase their subscriber numbers, they are projected to increasingly compete in the peripheral device market by supplying their own blood pressure monitors, weight scales and other peripherals. This allows them to control device interconnectivity and adds an additional revenue stream.  On  the other hand, the promotion of open standards by the Continua Health Alliance’s product certification program, serves to abate concerns over device interconnectivity. This will improve interoperability between different suppliers’ products and reduce the need for such vertical integration.

The biggest change, however, comes in the data transmissions market, where cellular network providers clearly overtake POTS and Broadband. In 2010, telehealth data transmission via cellular networks only accounted for 17% of total transmissions from gateways; in 2020 this is forecast grow to 47%. AT&T, Verizon and Sprint, have already taken their initial steps into the telehealth market. Moreover, as the use of smartphones as telehealth gateways increases, so too will the importance of cellular networks and mobile phone manufacturers in the telehealth ecosystem. As evidenced by Time Warner’s recent telehealth trials in Maine, broadband suppliers are also projected to become increasingly involved in healthcare and increase their collective share of  telehealth data transmissions – a projected 13% by 2020.

“The important issue in the telehealth competitive landscape is that telehealth is not a device or product- it is a system. It is hence inherent that devices can be seemlessy integrated, in order for the system to operate successfully. Standards will be crucial and alliances such Continua Health, Bluetooth SIG and the ANT Alliance will be important in this respect. However, we also know that where collaboration is paramount, there is also a market for vertical integration, leading to direct competition between previous partners” continued Ahadome.

Contact:

For more information please contact Wes Rogers (U.S. phone: +1 912 506 0869), Clive Savage (Europe phone: +44 0 07824 706 402), or Theo Ahadome (Europe phone: +44 1933 4022 55).

About InMedica:

InMedica is the brand name of IMS Research’s medical research group. We publish high quality, in-depth market research on Clinical Care Devices, Consumer Medical Devices, Medical Imaging & Healthcare IT and Telehealth. We offer our clients complete coverage of the global market, with dedicated reports on high growth regions, such as China, Eastern Europe and the Middle East. To find out more, contact InMedica (Europe phone: +44 (0) 1933 402255, www.in-medica.com).

My Advice as Editor of Modern Health Talk

If you buy any of these market research reports, make sure you get a chance to interview the authors personally to understand their assumptions, research process, and what shapes their conclusions. Make sure they aren’t just extrapolating trends but also include thoughtful discussion of market drivers, inhibitors and enablers, because you’ll need that insight to craft yourstrategies. 

Do the authors understand what’s driving telehealth, including the ageing populations and resulting increase in chronic illness, environmental pollution, the availability of nutritious foods, rising care costs, and physician shortages? What do they think of obstacles posed by legal, privacy and security issues, payment models, medical school curriculum and funding? What impact will regulators and the political process have, either as driver or inhibitor? And what will be the short- and long-term impact of broadband Internet access and the exponentially accelerating pace of tech innovation? Consider how quickly Moore’s Law is finding its’ way into healthcare (http://www.mhealthtalk.com/moores-law-and-the-future-of-healthcare/) and ask what will likely happen as medical devices keep getting cheaper, smaller, more accurate, and easier to use. 

Consider the impact of IBM Watson moving from physician assistance tool to advising and coaching consumers directly. How quickly will each of the medical functions done today by physicians in hospital & clinic settings safely move down-market to consumers at home? Won’t retail clinics and kiosks, and home doctor/nurse visits, just be stepping-stones along a path toward that eventuality? 

And finally, what phases will the market projections go through, and when? What levers might you have to make projections happen more quickly? And what should you watch out for that could make them happen more slowly?