Med-Tech Offers Healthy Opportunities for OEMs

Technology has changed the way we live. Medical health advances have also changed the way we live. Soon, medical health technology could have an even bigger life-changing impact.

Adoption rates of med-tech in the home environment are poised to surge in the next few years, according to the recent Tractica report, titled Home Health Technologies.   The market intelligence firm predicts that consumers utilizing home health technologies will rise from 14.3 million users worldwide in 2014 to 78.5 million by 2020.

The company stated:

Home health technologies are emerging as a distinct segment within the larger mobile and digital health market. The ability to remotely monitor patients with chronic conditions, utilize technology for improved eldercare, and conduct virtual physician consultations (eVisits) is being seen as a way to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the overall healthcare system, as well as to improve patient outcomes. Meanwhile, home health devices and applications are leveraging the ubiquity of residential broadband networking and smartphones to help consumers manage health and wellness on an ongoing basis.

Clearly, too, the expanding accessibility of the Internet of Things (IoT) into all sorts of applications, such as the connected home, increased consumer confidence using various mobile device formats, and greater awareness about personal health and fitness levels through mobile apps could also influence med-tech's growth.

The areas most likely to experience the biggest uptick in the next few years include medical monitoring, diagnosis and treatment, and there will be a push to deploy a wide variety of connected health devices and software applications, the company said. Additionally, the remote consultations, eldercare, and health and wellness segments could also see a boost.

The jump in sales, though, won't come without challenges. “Significant challenges remain for the industry to solve, including regulatory issues, data security and privacy, and technology interoperability and integration issues,” said Tractica's principal analyst Charul Vyas in a statement.

There will be, too, much for the electronics industry to consider. Expected growth within the IoT-device segment will have semiconductor companies thinking about how to better serve that market and the many very different applications that will be invented or further developed. A Gartner report released late last year, for example, expects that the processing, sensing and communications semiconductor areas will be a rapidly growing segment of the total semiconductor market, growing 36.2% in 2015, compared with the overall semiconductor market growth of 5.7%. 

“The demand for billions of things will ripple throughout the entire value chain, from software and services to semiconductor devices,” said Alfonso Velosa, research director at Gartner. “These 'things' will drive huge demand for individual chips. IoT semiconductor growth will come from industries spanning consumer, industrial, medical, automotive and others.”

And, if the Medical Design Excellence Awards provide any indication of the medical technology innovation that's beginning to pop up, as reported in this story, then component companies will want to think about the role they will play in things such revolutionary design for end-user products and user-interfaces, improved diagnostics capabilities, and the mass consumerization of medical technology.

Some signs of this are already playing out in the electronics industry, and could eventually lead to additional products targeting medical technology platforms.

Earlier this month, for example, Sematech and Exogenesis Corp. announced a strategic alliance to commercialize Exogenesis' Accelerated Neutral Atom Beam (ANAB) technology and their n Accelaccelerated particle beam equipment platform. Beyond an initial focus on integrated circuit manufacturing, the companies intend to explore ANAB applications in other nanoelectronics fields. The biomedical field already uses ANAB for precise control of pharmacological and biointegration properties and to enable development of more safe and efficacious implantable medical devices, according to the company.

The NXP-Freescale merger gives industry watchers something else to consider as it related to med-tech. “The combined company will catapult into the top 10 for major industrial applications. It will achieve impressive share gains, especially in the following categories: manufacturing and process automation, military and civil aerospace, power and energy, and medical electronics,” according to recent market insight report fromRobbie Galoso, associate director for semiconductor market shares and industrial electronics at IHS.

Where does med-tech fit into your company's strategic growth plans?

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