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Keeping the Doctor Away: The Opportunities for Emerging Electronics in Healthcare

The worldwide medical device market is over $300 billion annually, but there is increasing pressure from governments, insurers, and patients to bring down healthcare costs. Printed, flexible, and organic electronics have the opportunity to lower costs while also improving the overall quality of care and generating substantial markets. A winning device requires the right combination of sensor, treatment, and/ or electrode technologies and the right market fit. However, many of these technologies have been overhyped, and sorting out real potential is critical. We assess emerging sensor, treatment, and electrode technologies across eight markets to uncover substantial business opportunities for printed, flexible, and organic electronics in healthcare.

Table of Contents

  • Executive Summary
  • Landscape
    • Printed, Flexible, and Organic Electronics Aim to Influence Healthcare
    • Government Organizations and Private Management have Lots of Control
      • Healthcare is Heavily Regulated
      • Technologies Must Find Adoption with at Least One of Three Customers
    • Developers Target Sensors, Electrodes, and Treatments
    • Cardiac Sensors Have High Clinical and Consumer Potential
      • Heart Rate is Easy to Measure and Easy to Act on
      • Blood Oxygen and Carbon Dioxide Will Mostly Have Difficulty Competing with Pulse Oximeters
      • ECG Monitors Are an Opportunity That Attracts Many Players
    • Metabolic Sensors Have Many Potential Applications, but Glucose Dominates
      • Glucose Monitoring Already Uses Printed Components
      • Pathogen Detection Requires a Separate Test for Each Disease
      • Other Analytes Offer a Large - but Fragmented - Opportunity
    • Lifestyle Sensors Have Limited Clinical Use but Many Consumer Applications
      • Respiration Measurements Need Good Contact
      • Temperature - the Measured Value Doesn't Easily Correlate with Anything Useful
      • Small and Large Area Pressure Sensors Detect Location and Orientation
    • Treatments Must Find Clinical Needs to Fill
      • Drug Delivery Needs Drug and Treatment Match
      • Wearable Electrical Treatment is a Good Interface Fit, but Lacks Supporting Power
      • Internal Devices Offer Secondary Opportunity
      • External Personal Devices Can Illuminate Niche Applications and Markets
    • Interfacing with the Patient is the Job of the Electrodes
      • Skin Adhesion Finds Innovation at the Interface
      • Internal Electrodes are a Similar Story to Skin Adhesion
      • Textiles Offer Wearability, but Can Only Be Used in Certain Applications and Markets
    • Challenges Vary with Markets
      • Clinical Applications are Far-Reaching
      • Chronic Disease has the Highest Consumer Need
      • Preventative Monitoring Lacks a Compelling Value Proposition
      • Elderly Care has Payer Issues
      • Parental Fears Make Neonatal a Promising Target for Consumer Sales
      • Athletics are Entirely Consumer Driven
      • Military has Become Less Cost-Tolerant
      • Mental Health is a Unique Market
    • Landscape Conclusions
  • Analysis
    • Healthcare Technologies Need Value in Specific Markets
    • Heart Rate and ECG Standout for Cardiac Sensors, but Incumbent Technologies will Rule
    • In Metabolic Sensors, Glucose is here to Stay, but Other Biomarkers are Limited
    • Lifestyle Sensors for the Consumer Market are Consistent, but No Clear Standouts
    • In Electrodes, Consumers Pull Conductive Textiles, while Skin Adhesion has Broader Base
    • Drug Delivery has Largest Treatment Opportunity, but Highly Market Dependant
  • Outlook
  • About Lux Research
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