Sales of self-diagnostic devices inch higher

Today, sales of all self-diagnostic devices — including blood pressure monitors and glucose meters, as well as home-test kits and pregnancy test kits — stand at about $1 billion across food, drug and mass outlets, up slightly with a little more than 2% growth.

(For the full category review, including sales data, click here.)

But tomorrow that growth trajectory may ramp up by tying products in with retail pharmacy service offerings. “It all comes back to who’s going to pay for it,” said Ranndy Kellogg, COO of Omron Healthcare. “The [healthcare] systems in the United States ... are still oriented toward paying for treatment vs. paying for preventive.”

But everything is coming together. Doctors in the United States increased their “routine” use of health IT, such as e-prescribing and entering data in electronic health records, by 32%, according to Accenture’s report, titled “The Digital Doctor Is In.” That suggests the underlying infrastructure to support a national telemedicine model is being created. And then there is the outcomes-based medicine part of healthcare reform that has many hospital systems in search of partners who can help reduce repeat hospital visits through disease-state management programs, such as those that could be supported by self-diagnostic devices telelinked to a retail pharmacist.

A new merchandising display showcased within the Philadelphia Walgreens flagship store may serve as a first glimpse into the aspiration of the category. Titled “Wireless ways to wellness,” the set features app-friendly, wireless fitness devices. “Fitness devices will be [adopted] the fastest because they have the most active, computer-savvy [technicians] working with them,” Kellogg said. “Other devices like glucose [and] blood pressure monitors are heading there, but nowhere near as fast as the fitness products.”

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