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Use of remote patient monitoring technologies increased worldwide in 2016

Fueled by the increased use of connected medical devices for patient care, the number of remotely monitored patients grew 44% in 2016, according to a report by Berg Insight, a market research firm in Sweden.

With that expanded role for connected devices, some7.1 million patients were being remotely monitored worldwide as of last year, the report says. Personal health tracking devices are not included in the report.

Furthermore, Berg Insight predicts that the number of remotely monitored patients will grow to 50.2 million by 2021

Using patients’ own mobile devices is also becoming a viable remote patient monitoring strategy; Berg Insight forecasts that by 2021 that bring your own device approach will be used for remotely monitoring 22.9 million patients.

“Care delivery platforms and mHealth connectivity solutions are two of the most rapidly developing parts of the mHealth technology value chain,” the report states. “Care delivery platforms will be instrumental for engaging patients in their own care and delivering remote [patient] monitoring services to a large number of people in a cost efficient way.”

While the benefits of remote patient monitoring are clear and the adoption of these technologies continues to grow, this trend also comes with its challenges.

For one, the report mentions the strong trend towards creating more connectivity in medical devices. Although connecting medical devices has its benefits it turns out that such devices also create serious security vulnerabilities to healthcare organizations.

In fact, Karl West, CISO at Intermountain Healthcare in Salt Lake City, Utah, told SearchHealthIT last year that medical devices are the new threat landscape.

Meanwhile, the report says health-related apps and devices can generate huge amounts of data, and healthcare organizations are struggling to not only handle and store all that data but make sense of and derive value from it.

One strategy many are turning to is third party cloud technologies. When using the cloud it’s “important for end users, doctors and care giving institutions is to choose a place where as many standards as possible are followed and where it is as easy as possible to export the data,” according to the report.