Connected care industry seen growing to €6 billion by 2022; GDPR to bring challenges

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We’re on the verge of a complete transformation of healthcare, as traditional telecare is about to be dethroned by connected care, according to a research report from Berg Insight. As telecare applications and devices collect and store large amounts of data concerning patients’ health, physical location and daily movement, companies in this segment will have to deal with the challenges of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).

Connected care, far more technically advanced than traditional telecare, is expected to see a revenue increase in Europe to €6.1 billion by 2022, while the solutions will be embraced by some 16.5 million users, with an expected CAGR growth of 18.7 percent, Berg Insight predicts.

Connected care services will substantially improve patients’ lives, experts argue, while the data collected represents valuable business intelligence on European healthcare. Advanced medical and monitoring devices will be used to monitor conditions such as diabetes, asthma, chronic kidney disease or chronic heart failure, occupying in the near future a significant spot in regular smart home infrastructure.

Through remote patient monitoring, patients will benefit from faster, more secure communication with their doctors, possibly faster identification of changes in behavior and real-time health notifications to their family and care givers.

But the European Union’s new legal framework will affect the overall massive adoption of next-gen solutions, as businesses will have to increase data protection and build trust around their solutions.

“While the future is data driven, end-users do care more and more about integrity aspects,” said Anders Frick, Senior Analyst, Berg Insight.

“The GDPR aims to increase privacy for the end-user which is a step in the right direction. The regulation by default actually prohibits processing of health data unless explicit consent has been given. At the same time, this will cause challenges for those telecare and telehealth solution providers that are not proactively working on their preparations.”

The European Commission, the European Parliament and the Council of the European Union aim to increase data protection and digital rights in the EU space by ensuring residents and citizens hold complete power over their personal data through GDPR. Following a worrying increase in security incidents and data breaches, GDPR also refers to the processing of personal data of EU citizens and residents by companies operating from outside the EU space.

The law will take force on May 25, 2018. Businesses that don’t comply with these regulations face penalties of up to 4 percent of their annual turnover, or €20 million, whichever is highest.

Once GDPR is enforced, businesses in the connected care segment in Europe will need clearly expressed user consent to process their data and will have to inform the supervising authority and customers within 72 hours of security incidents and data breaches.