Paying for remote monitoring: survey says…not much

Today’s Wall Street Journal Health Blog highlighted some gloomy findings for companies in eHealth, particularly remote monitoring–namely, most consumers don’t want to pay very much for it. Pricewaterhousecoopers (PwC) surveyed 2,000 potential customers and found that 40% would be willing to pay for a remote or mobile monitoring device (blood pressure cuff, glucose monitor), but 64% would pay only $50 or less for it.

For monthly remote monitoring charges, 41% would pay, but less than half of them would pay only up to $5.  Considering that good quality devices are in the $50-$100 range and even the simplest monitoring charges are in the $25-30 range, the cost barrier is a significant one.  So to break through, telehealth will need some cost sharing with insurers.

Yet the sunny part is here:  PwC estimates the annual market for the devices and services at anywhere from $7.7 billion to $43 billion, assuming that about 40% of the population would be willing to make a purchase and depending on how much people would actually pay. This is in line with the earlier Datamonitor estimate of what they classified as telehealth growing to $7.7 billion by 2012.  Wall Street Journal, PwC study, ‘Healthcare unwired’ (registration required).

Updated 15 Sept:  Neil Versel/FierceMobileHealthcare adds comments from Verizon (retail model) and the positive feedback from…physicians (88% would like patients to monitor their own health at home; 57% would like to monitor their patients outside of a hospital).