A large group of relatively healthy people looking to control their health is an underserved market for health devices, a recent IBM report found. The IBM Institute for Business Value’s report titled “The future of connected health devices” was based on interviews with medical device makers and consumer electronics companies and a survey of more than 1,300 device users and caregivers.
It defines a “health device” as a “software-enabled instrument, apparatus or appliance that senses, monitors or measures a particular condition and is used for wellness, diagnostic or therapeutic purposes.”
The report found that there are two common consumer groups using these devices: people who are extremely health- and fitness-oriented and people who are chronically or terminally ill. However, a third group of consumers called “Information Seekers” represents an emerging market: people who are generally healthy, but want to control a medical condition, health issue or risk. A promising market for medical device manufacturers, this group is larger than both other two groups combined and most don’t yet use home health electronics.
Consumers have no preference for using home health electronics from a consumer electronics company or a medical device company, meaning that this market is “up for grabs” for either industry, the report says.
The report also contains a variety of other interesting information, such as what current consumers use the devices for and what they prioritize most when choosing one over another. About half of those surveyed used the devices to measure and manage a known health problem. The number one priority when selecting a device was ease-of-use, with price being the second priority and features the third.
The full report on connected health devices can be downloaded online at the IBM Institute for Business Value’s website.
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