$54bn wearable tech industry offers immense opportunity for healthcare by 2023

Wearables have the potential to transform healthcare through the ability to remotely measure and analyse patient data in real-time. As the technology becomes more disease-specific with therapeutic and diagnostic capabilities it will ultimately lower costs and increase efficiencies, says GlobalData, a leading data and analytics company.

In 2018, the wearable tech market was worth nearly $23bn and is forecast to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 19% to reach $54bn by 2023.

The company’s latest report, ‘Wearable Technology in Healthcare – Thematic Research’, found that investment in wearable technology has become an increasing priority for healthcare organizations and networks, with technology incumbents becoming ever more engrained within the healthcare value chain.

Wearables have been adopted in a wide range of fields; with their greatest potential in healthcare to address spiralling healthcare costs, aging populations and the burden of chronic disease. However, there are many barriers that must be overcome before widespread adoption including cost, reimbursement, data quality and lack of clinical evidence, as well as regulations, technology capacity, and cybersecurity.

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Roxanne Balfe, MSc, Digital Healthcare Analyst at GlobalData, comments: “A prominent shift is expected for wearable technology devices from the health and fitness segment, such as data storage and tracking devices, to using the technology for remote patient monitoring and big data applications. Within five to ten years, it is expected that these devices in healthcare will become more disease-specific with therapeutic and diagnostic capabilities that will ultimately lower costs and increase efficiencies, moving towards a preventative model of healthcare.”

Although pharma makes up a small proportion of the wearable technology space at present, which brought in over $22.9bn in 2018, GlobalData foresees that wearable tech will lead to a fully integrated system in pharma that can utilise wearables to gather rich pools of data to personalize patient care and optimize clinical trials, while promoting consumer health and preventative medicine.

Balfe adds: “The pharmaceutical industry will be able to drive to the next level of innovation and analytics, for example by using the data captured by wearables to more effectively monitor and analyse health metrics during trials and intervene where necessary. This personalized approach will provide physicians with the tools to make the best treatment decisions for patients.

“The power of wearables to capture a diverse array of health data remotely also offers the potential to speed up the drug development process, without compromising efficacy or safety. This will draw from its ability to collect data from patients around the world in real-time, whilst decreasing the burden of trial participation for patients themselves.”

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