Fitness market demands wireless technology in healthcare

The market for wireless-based healthcare technology is likely to remain relatively buoyant during any economic downtown. However, vendors must still take care when choosing an appropriate business model and deciding on which wireless platform to base their product or service. This is one conclusion of a report published by Cambridge UK based analysts, Wireless Healthcare. The report, “Wireless Healthcare 2008”, examines a number of companies that have successfully deployed wireless based healthcare services using various business models and technology platforms. Vendor profiles in Wireless Healthcare 2008 highlight a number of factors influencing the choice of business models. The report notes that while care for the elderly is an important driver it is a mistake to focus exclusively on one demographic group. According to Peter Kruger, Principle Analyst with Wireless Healthcare, “An increasing number of young and middle aged people are taking an interest in fitness. This has created a multi-billion dollar market for devices used to monitor physical performance and seen the development of technology platforms that could also be used to monitor health.” The report lists a range of wireless standards, such as 802.11, Bluetooth and ZigBee, on offer to vendors and describes software platforms that have been customised for use within the medical sector. According to Wireless Healthcare, some vendors’ choice of technology is dictated by the partners helping them break into the medical market. The report points to the relationship between Toumaz, the developer of wireless-based body monitoring technology, and Oracle, which has its own healthcare database software, as an example of a partnership influencing the choice of a platform. Kruger explains, “Along with other IT companies wireless vendors will suffer as a result of the credit crunch. However, the healthcare sector will also be looking for ways to cut costs and increase the efficiency with which healthcare can be delivered. Wireless has already proven to be a technology that can do this and a number of vendors, in particular those with a high exposure to the consumer electronics market, have repositioned part of their product range as medical or personal healthcare devices.”

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