NEW YORK; Jan. 8, 2003 – More than 80 percent of consumers say that using home healthcare electronic devices — which enable consumers to monitor, diagnose and treat illnesses in the home — would improve their overall health, according to a new Accenture study.
Results of the study, “Home Healthcare Electronics: Consumers are Ready, Willing and Able,” indicate that the vast majority of the more than 4,000 consumer respondents appreciate the benefits that these devices can offer. Some devices currently available for home use include a wearable non-invasive glucose monitor for diabetics, an in-home hemodialysis unit, and do-it-yourself screening tests for conditions ranging from high cholesterol to blood-borne infections.
Among the study’s key findings:
81 percent of respondents said they believe that home electronic medical devices would help them avoid trips to the emergency room or stays in the hospital; 71 percent said they believe that the devices would help them avoid visits to the doctor’s office; 81 percent said they would use the devices to make sure a family member or friend is well; and 82 percent said they believe that the devices would help them save money.
“Consumer electronics manufacturers need to find new sources of profitability and home healthcare electronics may clearly be one such area,” said Charles Roussel, a partner in Accenture’s Electronics & High Tech industry group. “Because this equipment can reduce long-term costs, improve convenience, and keep people in their homes rather than in care facilities, electronic medical devices will almost certainly have a significant impact on healthcare and create opportunities for the electronics industry.”
The study identified four major trends that promise to propel home healthcare electronics into the mainstream:
The population is aging, with the proportion of Americans over 65 expected to rise to 20 percent by 2040. An aging population means an increase in chronic illness such as diabetes and arthritis and therefore an increase in the demand for healthcare services.
- Increasing demand for healthcare services means escalating costs and shortages of critical skills.
Technological advances enable cost-effective health management at home. Better-informed and more-health-conscious consumers are eager to play active roles in managing their health.
Survey respondents expressed great willingness to enhance their home electronics environment to handle medical devices and services. Sixty-one percent of respondents over age 65 said they would be willing to upgrade communications services (cable, telephone or Internet services), and 63 percent of respondents in the same age category said they would be willing to upgrade their consumer electronics devices (TV, PC, etc.) to work with the medical devices. Additionally, 51 percent said they would be willing to add new services to enable use of these devices.
“Bringing healthcare electronics into the home is not without its challenges,” said Roussel. “Medical conditions, treatment protocols, patient education and related devices vary widely. Equally complicated is the maze of government regulations that affect this market – from FDA approval of devices to reimbursement levels and the purchasing power and influence of health insurers, HMOs and doctors.”
Despite these challenges, the study identified four major approaches that device makers can take to help them be more successful at getting their products into consumers’ homes:
Reduce costs for home health agencies and hospitals and sell directly to them; Join the system through HMOs, insurance companies and the government; Partner with new service providers and disease-management companies; and Sell products directly to consumers.
“Each of these approaches offers consumer electronic manufacturers opportunity, but the most effective companies will likely pursue all four strategies,” said Roussel. “The global trend toward moving point-of-care closer to the patient and the willingness consumers have to use electronic devices make this a prime market for manufacturers to pursue.”
About the Study
The study was conducted by the Accenture Institute for Strategic Change and Accenture’s Electronics & High Tech industry group. The results reflect 4,313 surveys completed online, from a sample of 40,000 US consumers selected at random from a database of more than 1 million people and solicited via e-mail. The demographics of recipients and respondents nearly match the demographics of the overall US population. The survey was conducted, and supplemental data collected, in the spring of 2002.
Accenture is the world’s leading management consulting and technology services company. Committed to delivering innovation, Accenture collaborates with its clients to help them realize their visions and create tangible value. With deep industry expertise, broad global resources and proven experience in consulting and outsourcing, Accenture can mobilize the right people, skills, alliances and technologies. With more than 75,000 people in 47 countries, the company generated net revenues of $11.6 billion for the fiscal year ended August 31, 2002. Its home page is www.accenture.com.