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Analysts at Technavio, a leading global technology research and advisory company, forecast the global location-based services (LBS) market in the healthcare industry to grow at a CAGR of more than 32 percent during the forecast period, according to their latest report.The research study covers the present scenario and growth prospects of the global LBS market in the healthcare industry for 2016-2020. Based on application platform, the market is segmented into the following: asset management, staff management, patient management, and others.
Technavio analysts highlight the following four factors that are contributing to the growth of the global LBS market in the healthcare industry:
• Wide deployment of RTLS tags in hospitals
• Rapid adoption of Wi-Fi and WLAN in hospitals
• Growing use of healthcare wearables
• Fall in price of RFID tags
Wide deployment of RTLS tags in hospitals
In the healthcare sector, a large number of hospitals are deploying real time location systems (RTLS) tags to enhance operations, efficiency, and profitability. RFID tags are used in a wide variety of applications such as asset management, indoor navigation, location analytics, and quick location of equipment such as hospital beds, wheelchairs, ventilators, oxygen cylinders, and infusion pumps. Apart from these applications, RTLS tags are used to monitor equipment and patients as well as to locate hospital staff. In addition, tracking surgical instruments and other reusable medical equipment through RTLS solutions help automate sterile processing workflow of cleaning, sterilizing, and distributing medical equipment, surgical and dental instruments, and critical supplies.
HF tags and UHF RFID tags are widely used in healthcare applications. HF tags are used for short-read range up to three inches. They are used to tag blood samples, tissue samples, and other critical fluids. UHF RFID tags are used for long-range purposes such as tracking and locating critical medical devices, managing inventory, and tracking and identifying patients.
Rapid adoption of Wi-Fi and WLAN in hospitals
RFID bands and tags are being increasingly used in hospitals. Consequently, the deployment of LANs, WLANs, and Wi-Fi has increased in the past few years. The availability of high-speed mobile broadband network and the decrease in the deployment cost of such networks are the major reasons for the growing acceptance of LANs, WLANs, and Wi-Fi, particularly in the healthcare industry.
According to Rakesh Kumar Panda, a lead analyst at Technavio for research on M2M and connected devices, “Wi-Fi enabled RTLS are used to track the location of various assets inside the hospital campus. Infusion pumps, when connected to Wi-Fi, are easier to locate. Many hospitals and healthcare institutions are adopting virtual private networks for data security and for providing seamless connectivity to their staff and patients.”
Growing use of healthcare wearables
With the increase in the number of people with chronic conditions worldwide and the rise in healthcare costs, it is very difficult for the hospital staff to manage all the patients simultaneously. Additionally, patients have to wait in long queues for long hours. To resolve this problem, vendors have introduced remote patient monitoring (RPM). This application allows physicians to monitor the patient from a remote location or home with the help of wearable healthcare devices. RPM helps both patients and doctors and increases the efficiency of hospital management. It also helps in reducing healthcare cost, travel time, and hospital visits for both patients and staff. Healthcare wearables such as activity trackers, smartwatches, health monitors, and pedometers are used to track the activities of doctors, staff, and patients.
“Eight out of 10 older consumers in the US suffer from one or more chronic diseases, increasing their dependency on families or caregivers. So, RPM is a practical solution for this issue and is expected to propel the growth of the market during the forecast period,” says Rakesh.
Fall in price of RFID tags
Radio frequency identification (RFID) tags are widely used in the healthcare industry for asset tracking and workforce management helping the industry to enhance the efficiency and effectiveness of various operations. With the growing adoption rate of RFID tags and competition among players, the price of RFID tags is falling rapidly. In 2014, for instance, the price of RFID tags dropped by 30 percent to 40 percent compared with 2012. Currently, the price of a single active RFID tag is $15 to $20, and this rate is reduced further for bulk demands. The rapid fall in RFID tags is also attracting small- and medium-sized hospitals to implement RTLS solutions.