Device Connectivity Set to Drive Major Care Change for Millions of COPD Patients

Chronic Respiratory Wireless Pulse Oximeters Shift from the Finger to the Wrist
08 Feb 2017

Chronic respiratory diseases—asthma, allergic rhinitis, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)—affect up to one billion patients globally. While in the past, clinicians monitored patients’ vitals through regular checkups, new wearable technology now allows them to track this information remotely. ABI Research forecasts device connectivity will drive new chronic respiratory disease wearable form factors, with shipments to grow from three million shipments in 2017 to 12 million in 2022.

COPD, alone, costs U.S. healthcare systems $50 billion per year. ABI Research forecasts the U.S. will spend the most on chronic respiratory disease wearables, accounting for $6 million in 2022 of $21 million in global market revenues. Following the U.S., Europe and the Asia Pacific will also see high adoption rates. As the nascent market gains momentum, the devices will gradually shift from wireless finger-clips to wrist-worn devices.

“Wrist-worn chronic respiratory disease wearables are the ideal form factor, because they allow patients to carry out daily activities uninterrupted while collecting data continuously and in real time to note any subtle fluctuations in oxygen levels,” says Stephanie Lawrence, Research Analyst at ABI Research. “Finger-clip devices must be manually attached and activated throughout the day to provide one-off readings. Though they still provide more information than pulse oximeters in a clinical setting, finger-clip devices often miss subtle fluctuations that could indicate worsening conditions.”

Non-invasive medical monitoring solutions developer Nonin Medical’s latest wrist-worn pulse oximeter—WristOx 2, Model 3150—measures patients’ oxygen saturation and pulse rates, transmitting the data using Bluetooth 2.0. Additionally, medical device manufacturer and startup Oxitone Medical recently released its Oxitone wrist pulse oximeter that continuously monitors blood oxygen levels and sends the data to an app via embedded Bluetooth Smart.

Challenges vendors need to overcome as the market develops include meeting medical regulatory standards. The mandatory standards are critical, as they are clear proof that the device is an effective and accurate form of monitoring a patient’s condition. As obtaining medical regulation is a lengthy process, manufacturers must consider it in the early design stage as the global market develops.

These findings are part of ABI Research’s Chronic Respiratory Disease: Wearable mHealth Device Market Overview report.

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