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  • Market for home health sensors set to explode

BioPhotonics
Feb 2014
The market for sensors in home health care applications will explode from $559 million in 2013 to $1.2 billion by 2018, according to a recent report from Research and Markets. The aging global population and resultant increase in chronic diseases – Alzheimer’s, diabetes, cancer and more – will play a driving role in this rapid growth, as will the rising cost of health care and a shortage of physicians, which will spur increased home care. Transferring a patient from hospital to home implies a relocation of care systems, and home-care sensors are vital replacements for specific applications ordinarily performed by nurses, such as guaranteeing the patient’s comfort, ensuring their safety, monitoring body parameters and treatments, and drug delivery.

Sensors previously developed for non-medical applications are transitioning to home-care applications; the sensors covered by the market report are both photonic (including IR temperature and proximity sensors, photodetectors and more) and nonphotonic (barometers, electrochemical biosensors, humidity sensors, radio-frequency MEMS, radio-frequency identification, and strain sensors, among others). Collectively, these sensors have various applications in the home-care market, especially for smart drug delivery, patient safety, diagnostics, continuous patient monitoring and patient comfort. The three most-used sensors today are photodetectors, pressure sensors and electrochemical sensors.

Information and communication technologies (ICT) are becoming critical for home-care applications, both for delivering and providing health care accessibility, but there’s still a long way to go to improve infrastructure and personal communication devices, the report’s authors found.

The system is still an immature one, so the supply chain for sensors in home-care applications is still under construction. Sensor suppliers are prepared to provide qualified MEMS sensors, but integrators, ICT players and home implementation players still face many difficulties, the firm reports.


GLOSSARY
strain
In optics, the mechanical tension, compression or shear in optical glass due to internal stress caused by improper cooling or annealing during manufacture of the glass or the subsequent working of molded parts.
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