The global geriatric population is on the rise with the population aged over 65 years set to outnumber children under the age of 5 years over the coming years. Older people are generally more susceptible to infectious or chronic ailments, mostly due to age-related deterioration of the immune system. This vulnerability to various health risks including contagious and chronic diseases, as well as injuries associated with falls and physical disabilities is likely to add impetus to the global medical bed market.
The surge in the occurrence of chronic ailments is also causing a rise in hospitalizations for accurate and effective patient care. This upsurge in tandem with rising disposable incomes and rapid healthcare infrastructure advancements are promoting the widespread acceptance of medical beds on a global scale.
Several favorable healthcare policies and mandates have been enacted to ensure the availability of proper and effective medical care to those in need. For instance, in March 2017, the Indian government released a healthcare reform that requires healthcare facilities to have a minimum of 2 beds per 1000. This means there will be nearly 2,623 beds over the coming decade, including new as well as replacement beds.
Elderly population growing at a rapid pace
The older generation, or the “baby boomers”, account for a large chunk of the global population, and rising. In 2019, the number of individuals over the age of 65 years was recorded at nearly 703 million. This number is set to double by 2050 to reach 1.5 billion.
Most frequent users of the Emergency Department or ED services are elderly people suffering from one or more chronic ailments. Common maladies associated with old age include cataracts and vision deterioration, hearing loss, back, neck pains and osteoarthritis, diabetes, cardiovascular conditions, dementia, and depression, among others. As a result of this, the demand for effective and adequate emergency services has been growing extensively of the past year, proliferating the requirement for efficient healthcare equipment, including medical beds.
The growing elderly population has also brought about the establishment of dedicated geriatric healthcare facilities like Athulya Assisted Living, the brainchild of Karthik Ramakrishnan. The facility, located in Chennai, is considered a premium assisted living center and features myriad advanced healthcare provisions including sophisticated ECH machines, assisted medical beds as well as trained healthcare staff.
Rising occurrences of chronic ailments and subsequent rise in hospitalizations
The rapid expansion of the elderly population is also leading to a higher prevalence of chronic health conditions such as diabetes, cancers, cardiovascular ailments, stroke, and respiratory ailments. This increase is likely to assert pressure on healthcare systems to be able to provide adequate care and treatment to these patients.
In 2017, emergency department visits from patients suffering from at least one chronic condition accounted for nearly 60% of the cumulative annual visits, incurring an expenditure of nearly $8.3 billion.
Furthermore, over 90 million U.S residents suffer from at least one chronic condition, with seven out of 10 individuals succumbing to a chronic ailment. These numbers indicate a strong need for effective medical equipment including sophisticated medical beds.
While there are several healthcare systems put in place for the treatment of acute medical issues, many facilities are not equipped to deal with chronic ailments and long-term care. Given the prolific rise of chronic disease cases, medical bed industry players are taking consistent efforts towards developing revolutionary healthcare solutions geared towards long-term treatment.
The emergence of new healthcare technologies
For hospitalized patients, hospital bed security is characterized by sporadic visits from nurses and doctors. Due to this, any potential decline in the patient’s clinical condition may go unnoticed for a period of time, causing a delay in treatment administration and increasing the risk of mortality or morbidity.
However, in recent times, many up and coming technologies are coming into existence, designed to combat this issue and mitigate risks associated with hospitalization.
In fact, the digital healthcare sector is expected to hit $536.6 billion by 2025.
One of the most prominent advancements in the medical bed industry is brought forth by Hill-Rom, a multinational medical technologies provider and the foremost hospital bed producer in the world. Hill-Rom has unveiled a new technology called EarlySense, designed to integrate with Hill-Rom’s Centrella Smart+ bed platform and provide continuous, contact-free monitoring solutions including heart and respiratory rate sensing and analytics system.
Additionally, a new study published in an American Society for Microbiology journal has revealed that using copper as a component in ICU medical beds would harbor an average of 95% less bacteria than conventional beds, ensuring low-risk levels among hospitalized patients.