Market Insight

Sensors are here to stay: Impact on traditional patient monitors

January 07, 2019

Kelly Patrick Kelly Patrick Associate Director, Healthcare Technology

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Patient care is shifting from curative to preventative care, with investment heavily placed on limiting avoidable adverse events. Patient diagnosis is happening earlier to reduce the impact to the patient, and the subsequent cost to the provider. It is believed that by focusing on monitoring key health indicators, earlier diagnosis will ultimately reduce healthcare expenditure on non-communicable diseases (NCDs), which may have previously gone unnoticed until they required major and costly treatment. Patients are becoming much more involved in the decisions surrounding their own care paths.

Further, the cost-saving trend to transfer patients to low acuity departments sooner in their treatment pathway is becoming more prevalent. With an increase in sicker patients and a lower nurse-to-patient ratio, solutions that help to improve the quality of care are in high demand. A great push has been made to ensure early-warning scoring (EWS) protocols are in place to identify patient deterioration before costly intervention is required, which could ultimately impact the healthcare providers bottom-line.

As monitoring in lower levels of acuity is increasing, it is becoming more import to track any change in patient status. Traditionally, early warning scoring was determined through manual measurement of vital sign parameters. There has been a progression to assessing patients using spot-check or vital sign monitors, with data automatically uploaded into the patients’ medical record to be incorporated into the early warning scoring protocol. This reduces the mistakes that can be made by errors in manual data assessments.

The new IHS Markit Patient Monitors Report – 2018 provides insight into the changes occurring in the patient monitors market. New in this edition of the report, IHS Markit has provided a global and regional assessment of the continuous monitoring patch and biosensor market.

Advances have now been made by which patients are monitored by patient-worn cableless sensors that measure vital sign parameters. This enables patients to remain mobile, aiding in the recovery process, but ensuring they are still monitored throughout their hospital stay. As the technology advances, the number of physiological parameters that can be measured through wireless body-worn sensors has increased. The use of wireless sensors and data capture is expected to increase the capabilities of monitoring patients not only in the hospital, but also in their own homes. Key wireless monitoring companies include: VitalConnect, Isansys, and Raiing. These companies are focusing on providing solutions that enable the cableless collection of vital signs from low-acuity settings through to the ICU. Through early detection, avoidable events are dealt with before they occur, not only improving patient outcomes but also reducing treatment cost.

There is still debate around the clinical efficacy of the use of biosensors and patches in higher acuity settings. However, these have been dispelled with new clinical trials proving their effectiveness in continuous monitoring. Many international players have now been granted FDA and CE class approval ranging from single to multi-parameter measurements.


IHS Markit estimated the mobile continuous monitors market to be the smallest of the patient monitors markets, it was estimated at $9.8 million in 2017. With many projects already in place and due to be realized in 2018, it is forecast with the fastest revenue growth, a CAGR of 18.1% from 2017 to 2022. Despite its current low market size, the threat of the sensor market on more traditional monitors is becoming very real. However, the full potential market growth has been increasingly restricted by cost and reducing reimbursement levels. Further concerns have been raised over how the patches and biosensors are disposed and their increased costs to do so. As newer technologies can be recycled, costs are expected to be reduced.

IHS Markit will continue to follow these trends as part of our coverage of the patient monitor industry, including syndicated reports on patient monitors and electronic health records. For more information, please contact Kelly Patrick at [email protected]


Research by Market
Healthcare Technology
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