Electronic skin patches
represent one wearable technology product type that is well suited for physiological monitoring. Placing a connected electronic device onto the skin via an adhesive provides a platform which can house many different types of sensor, most prominently for medical monitoring of the wearer. Over the last 18 months, the COVID-19 pandemic has driven a worldwide concerted effort to explore and revise our approaches to patient monitoring and infectious disease management. As with other wearable devices, electronic skin patch products have evolved significantly over this period of time.
The impact of COVID-19 has been significant for many sectors but in vastly different ways. Products for remote patient monitoring saw a significant increase in demand and deployment, with remote monitoring options being significantly more favorable when dealing with a highly infectious disease. Regulatory hurdles were lowered to meet the emergency demand during the pandemic, which saw many companies accelerate in their commercialization on already existing paths. This particularly helped companies in the early stage of commercialization to get to the next stage of scale-up in the long journey to commercializing a mainstream medical device.
For many other sectors, the changes were more subtle. As with other markets, local lockdowns impacted products that require in-person delivery, such as a visit to a cardiologist. However, with many companies already trialing telehealth options, they were often quickly able to scale these up to enable remote delivery of products. As such, whilst late Q1 and Q2 figures may have been impacted negatively, many companies recovered extremely quickly and enabled shifts to potentially more profitable models involving tools such as telehealth.
The net result is that many trends which have been observed in the electronic skin patch market have been accelerated. Familiarity with telehealth and its general acceptance has seen a notable increase in uptake. Remote patient monitoring options have developed further, not just within the monitoring and treatment of specific disease verticals, but also in more general settings. Both of these have been underpinned by a series of prominent acquisitions, seeing some major medical device companies acquiring leading skin patch companies with a view to integrating them within wider digital
healthcare ecosystems. Philips
' acquisition of BioTelemetry for $2.8bn, announced in December 2020, is the largest and most significant, and one of several deals which are covered and discussed in IDTechEx's latest report on the topic, "Electronic Skin Patches 2021-2031
This report describes each of the key market sectors where electronic skin patch products are used today. As a diverse product platform, these markets each have very unique dynamics and product ecosystems in which skin patches play a certain role. However, there are also many overarching themes in both technology and business model which span the product sector. The report covers each of these in turn, with historic data back to 2010 and market forecasts to 2031 for each sector covered. As part of this narrative, activities of over 130 companies are covered, including over 50 interviews by IDTechEx analysts as part of the team's focus on primary research.
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