While the nation debates the rationale for Obamacare through the election process, these healthcare companies are using innovation for growth while lowering the cost of healthcare for payers.
Driven by rising number of chronic conditions and aging population, and enabled by technological and medical advances, Remote Patient Monitoring (RPM) offers a viable solution to healthcare systems which were not originally designed to cater to the ever increasing demands of chronic diseases. RPM experts believe that if implemented correctly it can be a useful tool in containing healthcare expenditure, reducing waiting times and avoidable hospitalization, and improving quality of care. RPM refers to the adoption of telecommunication and computer technology to remotely monitor and manage a wide range of health conditions.
Healthcare market research Kalorama Information predicts that the remote and wireless patient monitoring market will grow from $6 billion in 2011 to more than $18 billion by 2014 (approximately 26%), continuously driven by diversity of products available, number of health conditions that require monitoring, and growing demand for compact portable monitoring products. Dramatic growth is expected in the market for wearable wireless devices as well, exceeding 100 million units by 2016, according to ABI research. RMP is also the main reason behind the estimated 24% growth in the global mobile health application market, according to Technavio. Mobile monitoring has the potential to realize healthcare cost savings between $1.96 billion and $5.83 billion by 2014, mainly in developed countries such as U.S. and Canada.
Some medical device makers offer implantable devices that correct medical conditions and keep doctors informed at the same time.
Medtronic (MDT) makes implantable pacemakers to normalize slow or irregular heartbeats, implantable cardioverter defibrillators (ICDs) to treat abnormally fast heart beats, cardiac resynchronization therapy (CRT) devices that synchronize contractions of multiple heart chambers, and insertable cardiac monitors (ICMs) to capture certain heart data. MDT's CareLink Network transmits patient cardiac data and medical alerts from the company's devices with wireless remote cardiac telemetry.
Medtronic earnings per share are projected to grow 5.6% in 2013 and 5.3% in 2014. Medtronic has a First Call analyst recommendation of Buy with a 2.4 stock rating. Medtronic has a dividend yield of 2.4%.
The U.S. medical-device market had shown some recent signs of improvement, though weakness in Europe and negative currency impacts have weighed on sales. The new innovations in RPM may stimulate demand for some companies such as Boston Scientific (BSX). The Company is seeking regulatory approval to transmit its ICD, CRT, and pacemaker data from patients over AT&T's (T) wireless network. In June, the company implanted a patient in Europe with a pacemaker that can send its data through a wireless transmitter from the home.
Boston Scientific swung to a third-quarter loss as the medical- device maker posted an estimated write-down of $809 million related to its domestic cardiac-rhythm-management business. First Call analysts have a recommendation of Hold on BSX with a 2.8 stock rating
ResMed (RMD), which makes equipment to treat sleep apnea and other respiratory conditions, provides physicians with online access to patient compliance and the company's device data. Many health insurers require a compliance test of using the device for 30 days before they will cover the cost of equipment.
ResMed had record revenue and earnings last quarter as the number of patients being diagnosed with sleep disorders continues to increase. ResMed is projected to grow earnings 13% in 2013. ResMed has a First Call analyst recommendation of Hold with a 2.8 stock rating. The Company has a dividend yield of 1.66%.
Disclosure: I have no positions in any stocks mentioned, and no plans to initiate any positions within the next 72 hours.