Transport patient monitors have become established on their own in the patient monitor market in recent years, with demand rising from developed countries that want to provide high-quality care starting at the first point of contact with the patient.
Such monitors have also been important in allowing constant supervision of patients as they are moved to different wards within a hospital, allowing staff to oversee patients at all times. Even so, revenue growth during the next five years is forecast to remain low, according to the new report entitled “Patient Monitor Devices – World – 2013” from IHS Inc. (NYSE: IHS).
Revenue for transport patient monitors is expected to expand at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of just 1.2 percent from 2012 to 2017. The slow expansion reflects reduced demand from both established and developing economies, as well as the growing use of multi-parameter patient monitors.
“With healthcare budgets in many countries still restricted after the global recession, demand for specialized equipment is becoming more restrained,” said Holly Ingram, clinical care analyst for IHS. “In particular, reduced demand will take place for transport patient monitors where the more cost-effective solution of using a multi-parameter patient monitor exists, such as in Western Europe. These can monitor the patient from the point of contact through to discharge from hospital, a trend that will be replicated in the next three years in developed countries across the globe.”
Some manufacturers now do not consider transport patient monitors a separate market segment, offering only multi-parameter monitors as a solution, Ingram added.
The benefit of using one monitor during both transport and throughout the patient’s stay is not only cost effective, but it also allows continuous monitoring of the patient. This is beneficial for the staff, which now only needs to use one monitor for each patient, and is likewise more comfortable for the patient.
Also, with a push toward better connectivity and maintenance of patient records, the use of a single monitor with wireless capabilities will allow more complete information to be collected through the duration of treatment.
Patient monitors find acceptance in developing countries
Spending on transport patient monitors is limited in emerging markets including Brazil, Taiwan and Africa, too. Although these countries are attempting to improve the quality of care they provide, transport monitors are still relatively expensive and therefore are not a priority for purchase. With budgets also being limited in these countries due to a fundamental lack of financial resource, the transport monitor market here is forecast to see restricted growth in the next three years.
Will monitors recover?
This leads IHS to question if the demand for transport patient monitoring will return as economies improve. Such a scenario is unlikely in developed countries, given that the current trend toward using a multi-parameter monitor fits in with strategies to improve connectivity and the maintenance of patient records. Whether emerging countries will follow this trend, bypassing the widespread use of transport patient monitors altogether, or will invest in transport monitors as healthcare budgets improve, remains to be seen. This will be most dependent on whether local manufacturers are able to offer transport monitors at a lower price from the large, established suppliers to allow the regions affordable entry into the market.
With such trends emerging, it may be that there are in the future only multi-parameter monitors capable of monitoring both during transport and while stationary, instead of a range of dedicated transport monitors. This will require the multi-parameter segment to expand, in order to encompass the capabilities of transport-only monitors within the low-end and mid/high-end segments of the multi-parameter monitor market.
However, current demand seen in some Asian and Middle Eastern markets is unlikely to abate before a basic standard of care has been reached. This will, in the near future at least, maintain demand in the transport patient monitor market. Although global revenue growth is not reflective of these growing markets, this is mainly because the global market is dominated by developed markets that are currently using multi-parameter patient monitors instead of transport patient monitors.
The question now is, are the benefits of using one multi-parameter patient monitor from first contact with the patient enough to establish the trend globally as well as maintain the use of these monitors over dedicated transport monitors? IHS believes it is likely to remain so in developed regions, and to become the trend for growing regions when they have satisfied their current demand.
IHS forecasts overall demand will be maintained in the short term by the more established emerging markets, while in the long term, increasing demand is expected with the improvement of care in less well-established emerging markets. Therefore, growth will ultimately remain low yet steady in this segment within the next five years, maintaining the transport patient monitor segment in the patient monitor market for now.