Pandemic expected to drive over-the-counter sales of Pulse oximeters

The global pulse oximetry systems market was set to reach $1.6 billion by 2028 growing at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 3.4 percent prior to the COVID-19 pandemic. With low blood oxygenation being one of the main symptoms that characterizes COVID-19, there has been a surge in over-the-counter purchasing of pulse oximeters, according to GlobalData, a worldwide data and analytics company.

Aliyah Farouk, a medical devices analyst at GlobalData, commented: “All the patients with acute respiratory problems are typically monitored with pulse oximetry systems in hospitals or ambulatory surgical centers. The advancement in technology has resulted in the possibility of home-monitoring for patients with underlying health conditions. The market for wearable and hand-held pulse oximeters in home settings has therefore been robustly growing but is expected to be fuelled by COVID-19 influenced purchasing.”

According to GlobalData’s influencer tracker, interest in pulse oximeters for COVID-19 management began to spike in early March 2020 and continued to increase since then. However, as the market is saturated with cheap alternatives, there are fears that patients are purchasing non-U.S. Food and Drug Administration-approved pulse oximeters.

Nevertheless, manufacturers are looking to boost their production capacity and online vendors are positioned to benefit from the increased demand.

“The key driver of the market is the shift from hospital to home- care reflecting an increase in patient-centered consumer driven healthcare facilities,” Farouk continued.

Patients are generally taking an increasingly active role in their health with a large demand for rapid analytics.

Farouk concluded: “Although the use of pulse oximeters in home-care settings can ease the burden on hospitals, the error margin can be high when the patients without medical training attempt to interpret results. In general, doctors consider an oxygenation saturation of 95 percent and above to be normal. However, external factors such as movement artefacts and poor circulation can skew the results.”  -MPO

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