Integrating Smart Hospital Beds Into The Healthcare System

Integrating Smart Hospital Beds Into The Healthcare System

The full potential of smart beds will not be achieved only with isolated technological or morphological advances, but when they are seamlessly integrated into the healthcare system, enabling more efficient efforts for caregivers, and more responsive environments for patients.

Recent scientific achievements and technological advances have brought forward a massive display of new or updated medical devices, enabled with highly developed embedded-control functions and interactivity. From the final decade of the twentieth century, hospital beds have particularly been affected by this surge, taking on new forms and functions, while accommodating to established properties that have become well-known for these devices. The past 15 years have also brought forward changes to conceptual frameworks, concerning the product design and manufacturing processes (standards), as well as the patient (perspectives on patient-care environments and accessibility).

Hospital beds have changed, in the past decades, from technological, aesthetic, and functional perspectives. Smart hospital beds are a comprehensive synthesis of these three: integrated solutions for patient care, assistance, and monitoring. Powered by a surge in user’s technological awareness, the acceptance of new technologies into smart beds and accessories will likely continue to grow in developed regions, reaching more complex, upgraded, and even bold iterations in the near future.

The future of hospital beds will be shaped by the continued, conscious supplement of technologies into the healthcare environment. A prospective analysis on the evolution of healthcare systems will be necessary for the definition of proper strategies, in order to provide better, adapted services. As for patients and environments, research is heading in the way of providing even further functionality and integration with the hospital bed. Embedded monitoring, autonomous responses, and accessibility-enabled systems can take full advantage of the potential of these devices, while also posing future challenges in the development of reliable solutions for the severely disabled.

Technologies implemented into smart hospital beds may, at this point, result in derived, low-cost upgrades to other devices, like manually operated beds, which less-developed regions can benefit from.

While features like autonomy and embedded functionality may hint at an apparent detachment from the work of health specialists at this point in time, the need for multidisciplinary insight will, actually, become more urgent in the development of successful healthcare solutions. Research and study on healthcare environment-related solutions is of great need in the context of a globally-aging population, where disability will have an even greater impact. Accessibility-enabled hospital medical beds have the potential of becoming the center of new, comprehensive, and patient-conscious healthcare environments.

Indian market dynamics

In 2018, the Indian hospital beds market is estimated at Rs 750 crore with 125,000 units. The hospital beds contribute 50 percent to the total hospital furniture industry.

The Indian market for hospital beds is expected to increase at a significant rate due to large population base, and growing hospital infrastructure and continued government spend. This is prompted by increasing prevalence of chronic diseases and rising healthcare spending. On the basis of power, manual beds account for the largest and the fastest-growing segment. On the basis of treatment, acute-care beds account for the largest segment, while critical-care beds account for the fastest-growing segment in the hospital beds market. Special features of hospital beds, such as adjustable height of the bed and side rails controlled by electronic buttons, make them caretaker-friendly and help provide better comfort to patients.

The discerning buyer is showing strong preference for mobility, rehabilitation beds. These beds enable excellent patient handling, are walkers, have total tilting and lift feature, and are motorized. Key players are actively engaged in the research and development for advanced hospital beds to improve patient safety. Technological advancements as air fluidized-therapy beds, which offer a solution for wound-care patients and provide better healing environment for the prevention and treatment of advanced pressure injuries, are gaining preference. They cater to a niche market, and are imported. The rupee slide resulted in a major erosion of this sector in 2018.

The high-end and mid-end segments continue to dominate the market with a combined 44-percent share, by value. Apart from being basic 5-function beds, they incorporate advanced features as being AC-powered, hydraulic adjustability, and powered patient rotation. Arjohuntleigh, which received a huge order from Medanta, Gurugram, dominates this segment with Paramount Beds a close second. Other aggressive players in the segment include Stryker, Hill Rom, Linet, and Midmark.

The low-end, semi-automatic, and manual beds in unit terms continue to command a 50-percent share by volume, and are primarily bought by new, small hospitals and nursing homes in metros and in Tier-II and Tier-III cities.

This segment is expected to continue to grow at 10–12 percent year-on-year, with 120,000–130,000 beds added every year.

Global market dynamics

The global hospital beds market is forecast to attain a size of USD 4.6 billion by 2023, estimates P&S Market Research. Distinguished by the presence of numerous vendors, the global medical beds market is highly competitive in nature. The international as well as regional market players, with strong market penetration and wide geographic reach, are now focusing on extending their products and services for gaining a competitive edge. However, regional vendors are finding it challenging to keep up with international players in terms of market reach, pricing, quality, and financial resources.

The healthcare sector has been witnessing a gradual inclination toward home-based services, over hospital-based services. This is mainly because healthcare services offered in hospitals, particularly long duration of stays, are expensive. Long-term, home-based healthcare services reduce the overall costs for patients. This has been encouraging manufacturers and suppliers to increase their production capacities, in a bid to provide semi-automated and manual beds for home-based healthcare services.

Acute care will account for the largest share of the global medical beds market in 2018, by usage, and is further projected to gain an uptick in its market share by 2023-end. Long-term care is also expected to witness a significant usage of medical beds in the near future, with shifting preference of patients toward home-based healthcare services. Sales of medical beds in psychiatric and bariatric care will reflect a sluggish expansion through 2023.

Non-intensive care applications of medical beds will account for nearly four-fifth share of the market over 2018 to 2023. Intensive care is likely to gain traction among medical beds applications in the near future, with increasing number of medical emergencies and surgeries fueling the requirement for post-operative care.

Increasing incidences of chronic diseases, and neurological diseases owing to rising geriatric population has surged the prevalence of hospitalization across the globe. This has significantly fueled demand for medical beds in hospitals. In value terms, hospitals are anticipated to remain the most lucrative end-users of medical beds, with sales forecast to account for approximately USD 2300 million revenue by 2022-end. Ambulatory surgical centers will remain relatively less lucrative end-users of medical beds than hospitals during 2018 to 2023.

Electric beds remain the preferred choice among patients in the global medical bed market; however, sales of electric beds are expected to register the lowest CAGR through 2023. Semi-electric beds are expected to witness a steady expansion and will account for nearly USD 1000 million revenues by 2023-end.

Manual beds will also gain significant traction over 2018 to 2022, owing to their wide adoption in healthcare institutions that are not able to provide sophisticated healthcare facilities. In addition, healthcare providers in rural regions depend highly on manual beds on the back of shortage in advanced medical facilities and affordability of manual beds.

Europe is anticipated to remain the largest market for medical beds, in terms of revenues. However, the market in Europe is projected to expand at a relatively lower CAGR than all the other regional segments through 2023. The market in Middle East & Africa will expand at a similar CAGR as that of Europe through 2023.

Outlook

Smart medical beds have emerged in the past decades as integrated solutions for patient care, assistance, and monitoring, based on a comprehensive, multidisciplinary design process. The global market of medical beds is currently broad, competitive, and still has potential to increase. Dedicated devices for different demographics and high-end functionality under customizable solutions have become common features, expected of these devices. Research is also continuously promoting novel or updated integrations of technology into this family of devices. It is expected that these changes will continue to spread into further automation and design adaptations, with the smart bed becoming the heart of the smart patient-care environment of the future. The full potential of smart beds will not be achieved only with isolated technological or morphological advances, but when they are seamlessly integrated into the healthcare system, they will enable more efficient efforts for caregivers, and more responsive environments for patients.

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