Europe's health and wellness boosted by home health monitoring devices
by Neoteryx | 3 min read
The healthcare industry worldwide will experience significant changes in 2021, but in some parts of the world, these changes began before the onset of the coronavirus pandemic.
Even as the coronavirus pandemic gained momentum in early 2020, healthcare facilities were stressed. This sometimes led to hospitals releasing patients when they still needed continuing care. One of the changes we’re likely to see in future healthcare models, particularly in Europe and the United Kingdom, is greater adoption of remote patient monitoring to ensure that people receive the care they need without interruption—even during lockdowns or other events that pose physical barriers to hospital visits.
For a few years now, and particularly throughout 2020, patients and professional caregivers in Europe and the UK embraced the use of various home health tech approaches to health and wellness. These technologies are supportive of both acute and chronic medical conditions. They are also useful in disease prevention and informing healthier lifestyle choices.
People around the world want to be digitally connected these days, and the popularity of technology means that more people are embracing wearable fitness devices to monitor their health. Consequently, the home healthcare industry is growing very fast in some European countries, as well as in the United States. In Europe, medical technology is a big contributor to the EU economy, employing over 730,000 people. The overall MedTech market size in Europe was estimated at roughly €120 billion in 2018. The US market stood at $181.9 billion in 2020, and the prediction is that this market will grow at 8.6% CAGR by 2025.
Remote Health Devices and Kits
Health and wellness companies that offer home health kits or devices in the US, such as EverlyWell, Biofourmis, Babyscripts, have become increasingly popular. In Europe, health and wellness companies, such as For You eHealth, were expanding their selection of home health kits throughout 2020 to include COVID-19 immunity kits. According to MedTech Europe, the digitalization of healthcare in Europe is expected to "revolutionize the delivery of care by making it safer, better and more efficient." Remote, wireless technologies that allow for digital healthcare and home healthcare are being embraced more readily. Wireless devices used in home healthcare include a wide variety of tools like:
- Bluetooth-enabled scales
- Glucose monitors
- Heart monitors
- Pulse oximeters
- Temperature monitors
Some European contract research organizations (CROs) and research labs have expanded their services to include distribution of home health kits and remote lab testing services to promote preventative health by ensuring patients play a role in staying on top of their health status. People can seek medical care when or if their results indicate a problem.
Many European organizations are using remote specimen collection devices as part of their home health services. Portable devices in these programs are selected for being easy to use and minimally invasive. For example, the Mitra® device from Neoteryx is designed for remote specimen collection by anyone, anywhere. These devices can be shipped to Europe and the UK, where they are CE-IVD self-certified for this use. Mitra devices are no larger than an earbud (Q-tip), and are based on a technology called volumetric absorptive microsampling or VAMS®. Using supplies from a kit that is shipped out in the mail, the end-user at home pricks their finger with a lancet and absorbs a small specimen sample on the Mitra device's tip. Without any assistance from a health worker, the user can follow the instructions to self-collect a small, high-quality sample with scientific precision.
People can send their self-collected samples to a designated lab for testing. With some health and wellness programs, people can access their results online through a secure portal. Other programs require them to receive results through their health practitioner. Portable Mitra devices are offered through some hospital programs, labs and health and wellness companies in Europe and the UK, enabling people to collect specimen samples for therapeutic drug monitoring, as well as for hormone, fertility, immunity, and vitamin-level testing.
A Changing Healthcare Landscape
Home health devices and technologies have helped physicians keep up with their patients’ health without physical contact. This remote approach to care has helped reduce exposure to COVID-19 and other contagions within medical facilities. Using the virtual care model, patients can self-manage their health and also connect with their healthcare providers through video chatting and other technologies.
Home healthcare is becoming more accessible as its value is recognized and it becomes more regulated around the world. Home health kits and devices are now being offered by both large and small wellness companies. As each strives to deliver high-quality services and remain compliant with local regulations, the market for home health kits and devices will continue to expand.