Stimulus incentives designed to spur hospitals and physicians to use electronic medical record systems are among several factors that will drive growth of handheld devices in healthcare, according to a new report from healthcare market research publisher Kalorama Information. The report, Handhelds in Healthcare: The World Market for PDAs, Tablet PCs, Handheld Monitors & Scanners, indicates that handheld device sales for healthcare use reached $8.2 billion globally in 2009 and are expected to increase to seven percent for the next five years as physicians and hospitals purchase new IT systems.
“The ARRA incentives for electronic medical records do not specifically reimburse doctors for devices,” said Bruce Carlson, publisher of Kalorama Information. “But they are getting healthcare organizations to think about IT purchases, and they are helping to make the argument for better electronic data entry, something that we think will lead to increased sales for devices used to enter data.”
Other factors are driving the expansion of this market, including a growing and aging population, a shortage of qualified medical professionals, cost restraints, and medical error reduction measures, according to the report. The propensity of doctors and nurses to use the devices is also driving sales.
“Healthcare workers need to be mobile, and so PDAs and monitoring devices have long been a good fit,” said Carlson.
Patient monitoring devices account for the largest share of sales in the handheld market, largely due to the range of products available, the number of conditions requiring monitoring, and increasing demand for essential monitoring products in portable sizes, such as ultrasound and ECG.
Administrative devices have exploded over the last five years with the growing use of PDAs, smartphones, and tablet PCs taking hold. Advances in technology and the continued benefits provided by handheld devices are a significant factor in driving this market.