Medical Equipment Industry Relies on Tech-Driven Solutions to Respond to Evolving Home Healthcare Market

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The United States is the 2nd largest medical devices market in the world after China, with a durable medical equipment (DME) market worth nearly $53 billion in 2020 and forecasted to exceed $83 billion by 2028. A big part of that growth will be driven by the aging U.S. population, an increasing prevalence of chronic diseases and a post-pandemic trend toward reducing hospital visits by moving more healthcare to the home through remote monitoring, telehealth and other tech-driven solutions. Here’s a deeper look at each of these drivers of DME market growth, some of the challenges the industry is facing and how companies in the space are responding.

An Aging Population Drives Demand for Lifestyle and Mobility Equipment

Over the next 15 years, an estimated 10,000 people will turn 65 every single day. This aging population will account for a significant share of that forecasted $83 billion market in 2028 as the older population drives an increased demand for walkers, wheelchairs and other aids for daily activities like walking, bathing or eating.

A Rise in Chronic Diseases Increases the Need for Affordable, Accessible Home Medical Equipment

Chronic diseases, like diabetes or kidney disease, often require medical equipment as part of the treatment and management of the condition. While many of these conditions are seeing increasing rates of diagnosis, chronic respiratory conditions, like sleep apnea or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), are especially on the rise in the U.S.

Invacare (NYSE: IVC), a manufacturer and distributor of mobility equipment, has recently seen its revenue shift more toward respiratory devices, especially in the U.S. where 16 million adults have been diagnosed with COPD and another 22 million adults suffer from sleep apnea.

Both of these conditions require nebulizers, inhalers, continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machines and other equipment to deliver respiratory medication and keep breathing pathways open and functional.

The Demand for More Robust At-Home Care Options

As fears of contagion kept many Americans — especially those with chronic respiratory conditions — away from hospitals during the COVID-19 pandemic, the healthcare system scrambled to implement a functional telehealth and remote monitoring system to deliver health services to patients in the safety of their homes, reducing the risk of spreading the virus.

While the pandemic sped up the development of alternatives to in-hospital visits, the trend is expected to continue in the post-pandemic world. The ability to provide virtual non-acute care, offer routine consultations and conduct real-time patient monitoring without the need for in-hospital visits has resulted in reduced costs, improved patient outcomes and improved access to healthcare overall.

Industry leaders are responding to the demand by developing remote monitoring and telehealth solutions for existing suites of home medical equipment products. For example, Medtronic, PLC (NYSE: MDT), which specializes primarily in cardiovascular and diabetes devices, has recently made the move into remote monitoring with the launch of a smartphone-connected insulin pump and a mobile-friendly patient portal for spinal stimulation therapy patients.

Quipt’s Patient-Centric, Tech-Driven Approach Answers Evolving Demands

While many companies in the industry have been working to adapt to these shifting market conditions, the DME landscape is still highly fragmented and slow to modernize. Because of this fragmentation and inefficiency, the cost of home medical devices has been high and largely difficult for patients to get reimbursed by their insurance providers. Even though the demand for home medical equipment is already great and expected to grow substantially, that lofty and difficult-to-reimburse cost has been a limiting factor to the growth of the industry.

Quipt Home Medical (NASDAQ: QIPT), which offers a broad range of equipment but specializes in respiratory devices, is 1 of the few companies working to address all 3 of these industry trends in a cost-efficient, patient-centric way by developing a wide product range, vast distribution network and streamlined platform for ordering supplies and monitoring health outcomes.

The company’s underlying strategy is built on acquisition and expansion to develop a nationwide network through which it can consolidate and integrate manufacturing, distribution and payer integration processes in a way that makes them more affordable and easier to get reimbursed.

With 60 sites spanning 15 states, more than 145,000 patients are currently using Quipt’s medical devices and benefiting from the Quipt platform with its easy to file claims, complete with all required paperwork to make sure insurance approves and covers the cost of the patient’s equipment.

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