The wearable technology market reached $23 billion in 2018 and is projected to more than double to $54 billion by 2023, according to a new report from GlobalData.
Wearables, which are smart electronic devices that can be worn or incorporated into clothing to track various health and wellness measures, are already ramping up in the healthcare space and taking on some serious clinical work. Recent studies have found wearables helpful in predicting the onset of acute exacerbation in OCPD patients, improving adherence among ischemic heart disease patients, and more thanks to data collection.
The $54 billion estimate is close to another projection from Juniper Research that sees the wearable market hitting $60 billion in 2023. GlobalData’s report, ‘Wearable Technology in Healthcare––Thematic Research,’ forecasts a 19% compound annual growth rate in the market.
"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,” Roxanne Balfe, MSc, digital healthcare analyst at GlobalData, said in a statement. “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."
One of the biggest potentials of wearables is the ability to lower healthcare costs by monitoring patients outside the doctor’s office and showing signs of decline or adverse health events before they happen. Wearables could allow for earlier interventions that can keep costs down and improve patient care.
Still, there are barriers to the growth of wearables. For one, patients have to be engaged in the technology in order for it to be effective. And not everyone is OK with having their every move or pulse tracked, even if the information goes straight to their electronic health record.
Another area of opportunity is for the pharma industry, which only makes up a small portion of the wearable market today. However, wearable technology in this area could help build up a fully integrated system that gathers pools of data to personalize patient care and optimize clinical trials.
“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,” Balfe said. “This personalized approach will provide physicians with the tools to make the best treatment decisions for patients."