With increased access to knowledge and rising income levels, Malaysians are demanding improved healthcare services
While global market dominated by MNCs, Malaysian market has local players with innovative business models
THE Malaysian market for Remote Patient Monitoring (RPM) equipment is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 7.6% between 2012 and 2017 to reach an estimated market value of US$33.9 million [figure corrected] at the end of the forecast period, according to Frost & Sullivan.
RPM refers to technologies that enable the monitoring of patients outside standard clinical environments. The market ranges from patches or wearable devices to sophisticated monitors and equipment that can be used in homes, assisted living facilities, and in ambulatory settings, Frost & Sullivan said in a statement.
RPM technologies have achieved significant recognition in assisting chronic disease management and supporting independent aging. From a healthcare providers’ perspective, RPM enables mobility so that healthcare delivery can be ubiquitous and seamless.
Frost & Sullivan (http://www.frost.com/prod/servlet/svcg.pag/HCHL) said it finds that remote patient monitoring is emerging as an important investment opportunity for medical device manufacturers as well as telecommunications equipment and service providers across Asia Pacific, and specifically in Malaysia as well.
While multinational players like Philips, Medtronic and Covidien command a sizeable market share globally, the Malaysian market is highly fragmented and there has been a slew of local players entering the market with rather innovative business models, Frost & Sullivan said.
Healthcare was slated as a priority sector in the 10th Malaysian Plan, initiated in 2011. While several steps have been taken to improve healthcare delivery over the past few years, public expectations continue to rise at a pace faster than government action.
Malaysians across the country have access to far more knowledge than before and with rising income levels, they are demanding improved healthcare services that match international standards, Frost & Sullivan said.
Such a revolution in the consumer mindset, coupled with an ageing population suffering from a rising incidence of chronic diseases, presents ample prospects for remote patient monitoring, the company added.
This is the reason why a Malaysian company, Embedded Wireless Labs, which had a successful RPM business in the United States, decided to bring its technologies back home.
The company has created the Zilant Wellness Platform, which captures medical and health data from patient monitoring devices remotely and then transfers that information to a cloud server so that it can be accessed from anywhere at any time.
Embedded Wireless Labs has partnered with Maxis to support the telecommunications group’s Connected Village programme, which aims to bring quality, timely healthcare and diagnosis to underserved communities in rural Malaysia, amongst other benefits such as banking and education.
Certain pockets of rural Malaysia are so isolated that it takes patients up to two days to reach the nearest care facility.
As part of the Connected Village Programme, patients suffering from chronic diseases are invited for health check-ups at an easily accessible, central location in their village where their health parameters are recorded and transmitted to respective care providers using the Maxis-Embedded Wireless ecosystem of connected devices, including blood pressure monitors, glucometers, weighing scales and oximeters.
The project is supported by Universiti Malaysia Sarawak (Unimas).
RPM projects like the Connected Village Programme provide multiple benefits including extending healthcare services to remote areas; reducing the cost of healthcare delivery; reducing the chances of and costs associated with emergency care, and enabling efficient utilisation of a scarce medical workforce, Frost & Sullivan said.
With the telecommunications infrastructure improving rapidly in the country and major market participants like Maxis exploring healthcare business models, remote patient monitoring is set for growth in Malaysia, the company added.
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