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IHS Technology report: Sales of home health tech expected to double over next five years

BY Michael Johnsen

EL SEGUNDO, Calif. — Medical providers’ efforts to reduce costs by taking a more holistic approach to healthcare will spur a doubling in the global market for home health technologies in the coming years, according to an IHS Technology report released Thursday titled “World Market for Home Health Technologies – 2014.”

Worldwide revenue for home healthcare devices and services will rise to $12.6 billion in 2018, up from $5.7 billion in 2013. The home healthcare market consists of six distinct segments: independent living services, consumer medical devices, telehealth, personal emergency response systems, wearable technologies and health gaming.

“Healthcare providers are focusing on patient centered care to increase the quality of medical treatment,” stated Roeen Roashan, medical devices and digital health analyst at IHS. “By doing this, medical firms hope to attain lower healthcare expenditures during the lifetime of patients. Home health technologies will play an important role in the continuum of care and in the concept of constantly managing patients’ health.”

From a technology standpoint, the market will experience device convergence, meaning that home health products will become richer in features. This has already occurred to some extent with mobile PERS devices, which are able to act as gateway devices for telehealth, or activity monitors with optical heart-rate sensors. The same phenomenon also will occur in services where IHS expects convergence among independent living services, telehealth and PERS. This trend implies a new generation of more comprehensive health services, which will benefit users of home health products.

Meanwhile, the quantity of patient-generated data will grow exponentially with the increasing use of home health technologies. Big data in healthcare will determine the success of population health management, which is essential to the business model of accountable-care organizations and their objective of providing value-based care.

In addition, healthcare IT vendors are developing highly connected and interoperable solutions taking advantage of patient-generated data to support the decision-making process of healthcare professionals, and to create the inevitable bridge between clinical care and home health.

Furthermore, there is a trend of consumerism in healthcare, implying a renewed focus on the patient and on patient needs. This not only is happening in the market for home health technologies, but also in clinical care, healthcare information technology and other parts of the medical sector.

“As home health technologies converge, a new generation of comprehensive solutions will provide the foundation for a continuum of care,” Roashan said. “Home health technologies, as one segment of healthcare delivery, represent an important factor in accountable-care organizations’ overall goal of providing patient-centered care through population health management.”

 

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WSJ: Walgreens’ Well Experience stores pass HHS review

BY Michael Johnsen

NEW YORK — Walgreens’ new store format encouraging pharmacists to practice at the top of their license has passed muster with the Department of health and Human Services, the Wall Street Journal reported Wednesday

"The agency was unable to substantiate allegations from a consumer advocacy group that the new Walgreen ‘Well Experience’ store formats, as a whole, lacked the appropriate safeguards to prevent the disclosure of patient protected health information," WSJ reported. "The agency’s investigation included unannounced site visits at 30 ‘Well Experience’ stores, according to the letter, and while it did note there were individual staff errors at certain locations, there was no evidence of ‘widespread and systemic non-compliance as the errors varied from store to store.’ HHS did provide ‘substantial technical assistance’ to Walgreens, according to the letter."

That assistance amounted to suggestions that Walgreens augment its training program. 

The HHS investigation stemmed from a complaint filed last fall by Change to Win Retail Initiatives, a consumer advocacy group "that is a frequent critic of retail drug stores and is funded by labor unions," the WSJ reported. 

 

 

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Costco April sales up 7%

BY Michael Johnsen

ISSAQUAH, Wash. — Costco Wholesale on Thursday reported net sales of $8.6 billion for the month of April, the four weeks ended May 4, representing an increase of 7%. This year’s four-week period included 27 days of sales compared to 28 last year, reflecting the timing of Easter. This calendar shift negatively impacted this year’s net and comparable sales by an estimated 150 to 200 basis points.

Comparable store sales in the U.S. market were up 5%. 

For the 35 weeks ended March 4, the company reported net sales of $73.2 billion, an increase of 6%. For the 35-week period, comparable sales were up 4% in the U.S. market. 

 

 

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