Constant Product Innovations to Bolster Uptake of Wearable Medical Devices

Over the past few decades, wearables have soared in popularity among consumers. Wearable medical devices, including fitness and health gadgets, have largely transformed healthcare. Driven by the need for constant monitoring of health parameters in a variety of environments, wearables have gained constant adoption. They consist of a range of devices such as fetal monitors and obstetric devices, diagnostic and therapeutic devices. The increasing prevalence of chronic illnesses, such as congestive heart failure, hypertension, diabetes, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, has spurred their demand worldwide. 

Several manufacturers are constantly bringing innovations in wearable devices, leading to more precise monitoring. In recent years, there has been substantial demand for wearable diagnostic devices among athletes. An increasing number of medical devices gaining approval by the FDA and intensive efforts by manufacturers to bring product innovations are key factors stimulating the growth of wearables in the healthcare industry. Fuelled by advancement in connected technologies, manufacturers are headed for exciting times ahead. Driven by ample opportunities, the global wearable medical devices market is anticipated to surge to US$10 bn by the end 2023, expanding at a whopping CAGR of 18.0% during the period 2015–2023. 

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What are the key factors propelling the demand for different types of wearable medical devices? 

A burgeoning patient pool – attributable to the prevalence of chronic diseases – and constant technological advancements are crucial factors stimulating the demand for wearable medical devices. Rising geriatric population in several developed and developing regions has significantly boosted the demand. The advent of smart connected technologies such as glucose monitoring devices in smartphones has enabled users to track their glucose levels in real time. 

The increasing inclination of patients and their caretakers to remotely monitor health has stimulated the adoption of implanted medical devices and home-based telehealth medical devices. The increasing adoption of wearable medical devices to be used as vital sign monitors is fuelled by increasing prevalence of cardiovascular diseases. A soaring demand for electrocardiographs and other vital signs monitors among the health-conscious population is attributed to the ergonomic design of devices, cost-effectiveness, and reliable and hassle-free monitoring. 

Recent clinical trials in various developed markets have indicated the adoption of wearable medical devices in extending the survival rate of patients suffering from life-threatening diseases. 
A randomized phase III clinical trial presented at the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) Annual Meeting in April 2017 revealed that Optune, a portable wearable device approved by the U.S. FDA, delivers tumor-treating fields (TTFields). This device, when paired with standard chemotherapies, significantly improved the survival rate in patients with newly diagnosed glioblastoma, the most aggressive type of brain cancer found in adults. Such developments augur well for the market. 

Which geographical regions are expected to provide lucrative avenues? 

Majority of the demand for wearable medical devices comes from North America. The regional market is expected to register an impressive CAGR of 15.8% during 2015–2023. The leading position of this regional market is due to an increasing number of early adopters, wide presence of mid-sized and large manufacturers, and an expanding patient pool. A substantial demand comes from advanced nations such as the U.S. and Canada. 

Asia Pacific will provide promising growth opportunities for market players. The substantial growth of the Asia Pacific market is attributed to an increasing incidence of chronic diseases in various countries and the rising prevalence of type II diabetes in emerging nations such as China. 


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