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7/2/2010
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Healthcare Mobile Devices Forecast To Gain 7%

The healthcare industry is among the fastest growing handheld device markets, and should hit $8.8 billion this year, says Kalorama Information.

The total market for handheld devices in healthcare is expected to reach $8.8 billion for 2010, a 7% increase from last year when the global market posted $8.2 billion, a new report shows.

The report, titled "Handhelds in Healthcare: The World Market for PDAs, Tablet PCs, Handheld Monitors, & Scanners," was published this week by healthcare market research firm Kalorama Information. Noting that the healthcare industry is considered to be among the largest and fastest growing industry segments worldwide, the document said, "the industry can be classified on the basis of the roles that various entities perform. Hence, the healthcare value chain consists of producers, purchasers, providers, fiscal intermediaries, and payers."

The report looks at all handheld devices and makes forecasts for specific categories within healthcare. For example, patient monitoring products generated a market worth about $5.3 billion for 2009 with a market share of 64%. This accounts for the largest share of sales in the handheld market, largely due to the range of product availability, number of conditions requiring monitoring, and increasing demand for essential monitoring products in portable sizes, such as ultrasound and ECG. Patient monitoring devices include a wide range of products which provide the benefits of diagnosing, consulting, monitoring, and treating patients.

In the administrative devices market, growth exploded over the last five years with sales reaching nearly $3 billion in 2009 and a market share of 36%. The most popular devices are PDAs, smartphones, tablet PCs, and inventory/medication scanners. Handheld administrative devices include products to streamline healthcare workflow and improve efficiency as well as patient care, the report said.

"Healthcare workers need to be mobile, and so PDAs and monitoring devices have long been a good fit," Bruce Carlson, publisher of Kalorama Information, said in a statement.

The report also said that there are several factors driving growth in the market for handheld devices in healthcare; among them are the growing and aging population, shortage of qualified medical professionals, cost restraints, medical error reduction measures, and government incentives.

Under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, $19 billion was allocated to accelerate adoption of health IT systems by doctors and hospitals in order to modernize the health care system, save billions of dollars, reduce medical errors, and improve quality. The adoption of electronic medical records is a key element of the Obama administration's healthcare IT modernization efforts.

"The ARRA incentives for electronic medical records do not specifically reimburse doctors for devices," Carlson said. "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."

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