The COVID-19 pandemic has had a huge impact on just about every market there is, but cases where the impact has been a positive one are certainly in the minority. However, one industry that has definitely seen significant growth, and for the right reasons, is the medical alert technology market.
What are medical alert systems?
Medical alert systems can fall into a number of categories, however, the ones we will be talking about here are known as PERS – Personal Emergency Response Systems. These are devices that are worn, usually as wristbands or pendants. They have a button on them that can be used to immediately contact the emergency services or family members.
These types of systems have long been extremely useful for all kinds of people, particularly elderly people or people with existing health issues who want to live as independently as possible but have the reassurance that in the event of a medical emergency they can summon help easily – regardless of whether they are close to the phone or able to speak or send messages. Some medical alert systems integrate other forms of health technology too, such as heart rate monitors.
For an idea of the types of systems and products that are referred to when talking about the medical alert systems market, or if you are interested in investing in your own medical alert system: check out this article.
There are plenty of other personal technology apps and devices concerned with health. For instance, this new smartwatch uses vibration to notify deaf users about the activity around them, and there are apps concerned with managing different conditions. Here, we are only looking at the type of personal tech that specifically aims to contact someone for help in a medical emergency, or when assistance is needed.
What was the market like before COVID?
According to a press release on marketwatch.com, the medical alert systems market worldwide was valued as being worth $5950 million back in 2018 and projected at that time to reach $10700 million by 2025. These projections were naturally made before anybody was aware that there would be a global pandemic that would cause people to be more concerned than ever about the safety of elderly and infirm people, as well as less able to check up on them themselves.
That said, the market has been judged as strongly competitive even before the COVID scenario, with big players in the US, Europe, and Asia. At the time of some earlier research in 2016, North America supplied 49% of medical alert systems and had 46% of the global market share of sales. Europe was second, with 29% of production and 23% of sales. This was seen as a very exciting market with a lot of potential for growth, as the demand for technology that integrated health and security and the prominence of both wearable and smart home technology were steadily increasing.
Why COVID has boosted the market
The fact that medical alert systems were already popular and growing in popularity at the time of the outbreak meant that this was already a mature technology that was well supported and had a good infrastructure around it. This enabled the manufacturers and suppliers to cope with a greater interest in home medical alert technology as it became something more and more people were interested in having as the COVID situation grew. While the demand for medical personnel to actually respond to health emergencies during the crisis, whether they were reported by medical alert systems or in other ways, has always been a key concern during the management of the crisis in general, the technology itself was able to be provided relatively easily to new customers.
The appeal of medical alert systems during the pandemic is easy to see. With the virus known to be most dangerous to older people and people with existing health issues, people who may previously have considered getting a medical alert system but who hadn’t yet invested in one would certainly have seen this new threat as a reason to act. Additionally, where social distancing and quarantine regulations in some areas caused people to be more isolated from those they may usually have checking up on them, with many people who live alone not seeing anybody else in person for long periods during lockdowns and quarantines, having a way to ensure somebody would know if someone was at risk became more important than ever.
Medical alert systems have been able to bring greater peace of mind to people from all walks of life all over the world during the pandemic, and of course, this has also had a positive impact on the medical technology market as a whole. It will be interesting to see how technology as a whole advances due to the new demands created by the current situation.
Story by Somenath Kanjilal