The wide adoption of electronic medical/health record (EMR/EHR) solutions in hospitals is making a strong case for interoperability among medical devices and could take the $232.5 million global medical device connectivity (MDC) market past the $1 billion mark by 2022, according to recent report by noted market researchers Frost & Sullivan.

To make optimal use of  EMR/EHR and lower their dependence on manual monitoring, hospitals are developing connectivity strategies based on early warning scores, automated electronic charting, emergency alert and response, virtual ICUs, medical device asset management, and real-time location solutions.

“The current generation of medical devices are local area network (LAN)-aware and has the ability to integrate with any hospital IT systems,” says Dinesh Kumar, transformational health industry analyst for Frost & Sullivan. “Medical devices can connect to hospital networks using Internet protocol (IP) technologies of transmission control protocol (TCP)/IP and wide area network (WAN) either directly or through a vendor-supplied gateway.”

Frost & Sullivan’s recent analysis, “Global Hospital-based Medical Device Connectivity Market, Forecast to 2022,” examines the competitive landscape covering clinical IT systems vendors, medical device OEMs, vendor-agnostic third-party vendors, and healthcare system integrators. It presents use cases for patient data integration with EHRs, real-time patient monitoring, virtual ICU, centralized patient monitoring, and clinical alarms.

In the report, North America emerged the biggest adopter of MDC solutions in 2017, with $171.8 million of the total revenue. The U.S. market generated nearly $154 million alone, driven by technology innovation and policies like Meaningful Use, Accountable Care Organizations, and the hospital readmission reduction program. The European and Asia-Pacific (APAC) markets also were supported by favorable initiatives like healthcare digitization and the medical error reduction program at the point-of-care.

According to Frost & Sullivan, future growth opportunities in this market include:

  • Vendor-agnostic third-party device connectivity solutions, such as the CareAware iBus platform from Cerner Corporation and the Accelero Connect from Iatric Systems.
  • A huge demand for end-to-end medical device connectivity solutions, such as Qualcomm Life’s SmartLinx, which will enable a multi-disciplinary approach towards achieving a connected healthcare ecosystem.
  • The growing shortfall of intensive care workforce is challenging hospitals’ ability to care for critically ill patients. Virtual ICU and patient surveillance solutions fromBernoulli Health offers centralized patient monitoring, thereby improving overall clinical outcomes in the high-acuity care settings.
  • Healthcare system integrators and interoperability enablers, such as Enovacom, Validic, and Forcare, which is known for developing and implementing business-specific application interfaces for delivering patient data from disparate sources are gaining significance.

“Next-generation connected medical devices will embrace machine-to-machine (M2M) and cloud-based technologies for real-time, bi-directional communication required for centralized patient monitoring. For hospitals without EMR solutions, cloud-based device connectivity and digital dashboards for device data visualization will be an alternative. Furthermore, the growing demand for hospital-based MDC is giving rise to competitive business models and solution offerings from direct and indirect market players,” notes Kumar.