Extracted from the publication of Broderick Perkins on RealtyTimes website January 23th 2003
Most consumers want the electronics that can help them monitor and care for their health at home because, they say, the devices will keep them out of health care facilities and save them on health care costs.
A survey from New York-based Accenture found 71 percent of those surveyed said they believe that the devices would help them avoid visits to the doctor's office; 81 percent said they would use the devices to make sure a family member or friend is well; and 82 percent said they believe that the devices would help them save money. Accenture says the survey sends a message to electronics manufacturers that consumers want electronics that allow them to save money, but also to take care of themselves and remain in their homes instead of being gurneyed off to health care facilities. Other studies reveal most consumers want to retire to their existing homes and age in place, rather than at a nursing home or health care facility.
The Accenture study also identified four major trends:
- The population is aging and that means increased incidences of chronic illnesses and the demand for health care services.
- Increased demand for health care services can inflate costs and place a drain on critical health care skills.
- Technology can reduce health care costs.
- Informed, health-conscious consumers want to play active roles in taking care of themselves.
The survey said among those older than 65, 61 percent said they would be willing to upgrade cable, telephone or Internet services and 63 percent would upgrade televisions, personal computers and other home electronics to work with the medical devices. Also, 51 percent said they would add new services to enable them to use medical devices. While the demand obviously exists for in-home electronic health care devices, society must overcome the hurdles of government regulation, education and the ability for consumers to actually obtain these devices for use in homes, en masse.
To overcome such hurdles and get the devices in consumers' homes, the survey recommended that manufacturers:
- Reduce costs for home health agencies and hospitals and sell directly to them.
- Make the devices available through HMOs (health maintenance organizations), insurance coverage and the government.
- Partner with new service providers and special disease-management companies.
- Sell the products directly to consumers.
"The most effective companies will likely pursue all four strategies. The global trend toward moving point-of-care closer to the patient and the willingness consumers have to use electronic devices make this a prime market for manufacturers to pursue," said Charles Roussel, a partner in Accenture's Electronics & High Tech industry group.