By Kelly Patrick
On the 27th of July 2021, the US subsidiary of Nihon Kohden (Nihon Kohden Digital Health Solutions Inc.) announced that it was to acquire 100% of the shares of U.S.-based Advanced Medical Predictive Devices, Diagnostics and Displays Inc. (“AMP3D”).
AMP3D focuses on the development of algorithms and software to predict patient outcomes. The AMP3D CoMET (Continuous Monitoring of Event Trajectories) analytics software can identify multiple adverse events outcomes and display these to the caregiver. The integration of AMP3D’s algorithms into Nihon Kohden’s patient monitoring offering will allow additional insights into patient status, to help reduce adverse events.
The Signify View
The U.S. has trended toward value-based care for some time, and the offer of solutions that reduce adverse events and improve the quality of care are in high demand. This has not only driven the appetite for more patient information but also solutions that offer associated analytics to help to drive more informed clinical decisions. Other countries are also now focusing on value-based care, with reimbursement becoming more dependent on the level of care provided. The COVID-19 pandemic not only further accelerated product innovation, but also the acceptance of additional analytical tools and software that can ultimately improve patient care, especially since clinical resource has become increasingly strained. Despite initial hesitancy, clinicians are now starting to see the benefits that analytics can offer to aid in prediction of patient outcomes in time-critical decisions, ensuring high-risk patients are monitored appropriately.
Signify Research recently assessed the market for analytics and AI-based applications in its High-Acuity & Perinatal IT report. The report assessed the market development of many major players and the impact on market demand. The global Analytics and AI-based applications market in high-acuity and perinatal settings was estimated to be worth $70.5 million in 2020. Signify projects that this will reach just under $180 million by 2025.
What next for Nihon Kohden?
Nihon Kohden has been a smaller player in the U.S. patient monitor market for some time; it was ranked sixth in 2020 in Signify’s recent assessment of the North American patient monitor market, gaining 0.3% points from 2019. However, it has much greater presence in the overall global market, due to its higher ranking in Asia, specifically in Japan. This acquisition will place Nihon Kohden in a good position to capture the piqued interest in additional analytical tools to support patient monitoring provision, which is slowly becoming a necessary element of a clinical product offering.
In addition to the patient monitoring solutions and associated clinical information systems, Nihon Kohden has already expanded its clinical offering by adding its own ventilator to the product portfolio in 2019, enhancing its ability to provide a more complete solution offering in the clinical care space. The integration and development of algorithms to ensure patient safety into its wider lineup will help strengthen its position further.
Although the acquisition has occurred at the U.S. subsidiary, it is expected that the technology developed through this acquisition will also expand to other regions, helping Nihon Kohden to further compete with other patient monitor powerhouses such as Philips, GE and Mindray.
What are other vendors doing?
Since the COVID-19 pandemic, digitalisation has been driven forward and increased the appetite from clinicians for more information to support patient care. Many vendors have taken note of the interest and further developed solutions that enable a fully integrated patient pathway and analytical tools to support care provision. Subsequently, there has been a flurry of activity within the patient monitoring market, with each major player enhancing their offering to ensure optimal care provision. Of note:
Philips has made several acquisitions in the last few years. Most recently, its announcement of the acquisition of Capsule Technologies in January 2021 piqued many competing vendors' interest. Capsule is a leading brand in device integration enabling seamless connection between devices and associated IT systems, including analytics solutions through a vendor-neutral system, to streamline device and data integration into the medical health record. The deal will enable Philips to not only tap into Capsule’s device integration capabilities, but also the vital signs monitoring, and clinical surveillance service solutions that Capsule offers. Philips has since announced its launch of the HealthSuite System of Engagement, an attempt to connect information from different systems to enable a collaborative platform providing actionable patient insights. This move has given Philips a clear position in its strategic approach toward a truly digital patient pathway providing the necessary tools to improve patient care.
In 2019, GE Healthcare announced that it was investing into Decisio Health, a Houston, Texas-based software company that specializes in clinical surveillance. The solutions from Decisio Health enable real-time patient information to aid in decision making. Since the investment, GE Healthcare has incorporated Decisio’s DECISIOInsight® into its Mural virtual care solution which provides supporting clinical information to help prioritise patient care. Like Philips, GE Healthcare is utilising the Mural solution to enable a transformation of data for analytics that enable more informed patient care.
In 2020, Hill-Rom acquired Excel Medical, a clinical communications software company located in the U.S. Excel Medical’s solution is a vendor-agnostic data acquisition and storage platform specifically utilised in cardiac monitoring systems and medical devices. Since the acquisition, Hill-Rom has utilised Excel Medical’s technology to develop their Voalte Alarm and Alert Management solution aimed to reduce caregiver alarm fatigue, and provide retrospective analytics of alert and alarm loads for quality management. In February 2021, Hill-Rom also announced its acquisition of EarlySense, a contactless continuous patient monitor sensor company which will add to Hill-Rom’s connected care solutions line, and enable the continuous collection of patient data to help ensure appropriate and timely clinical decisions are made. These activities in the monitoring market, in addition to the 2019 acquisition of Breathe Technologies, a non-invasive ventilator company, have further developed Hill-Rom’s product offering across the connected care solutions market, resulting in positive growth in recent years. This further highlights the need for a complete and connected product offering across the clinical care space to remain competitive. More recently, Hill-Rom’s activity has attracted interest from Baxter Healthcare, who proposed a recent acquisition of the company. However, early reports suggest the offering was initially rejected based on Hill-Rom’s higher perceived value, and talks are ongoing.
Mindray has continued to push its international presence through its development of solutions across the clinical care segments. Its broad offering has enabled it to gain share across the clinical care devices segments. Following the launch of their Ruizhilian information system suite in October 2020 at the CMEF, Mindray also launched its M-Connect IT solution in April 2021. As market leader in many of the clinical care devices markets in China, it is in a strong position to facilitate data sharing between bedside devices and 3rd party information systems, in addition to offering analytics to aid in decision making. The ability to offer a complete and connected offering across the clinical settings is helping Mindray to gain traction in both developed and emerging markets.
It is expected that the focus to develop intuitive solutions, supported by advanced algorithms will continue in the field of clinical care, combining information from a wide range of connected solutions. Investment into digital health has been expanded, with specific financial initiatives in several countries to ensure progression toward digital solutions and associated software is made. Product developments incorporating analytics are expected from all vendors, as the market continues to be expanded by the need for clinical information to guide patient care and increase patient safety, further increasing competition within the industry.
The appetite for analytics has opened the opportunity for further development in patient monitoring, which for some time had become a stagnant market. Developments will expand not only in the hospital, but also into home care provision, enabling remote access to patient data and analytics that enable safe care provision in the home. The COVID pandemic has forced the necessary shake-up in the market required to drive innovation and acceptance of digital solutions, and the subsequent shift in the way in which care is provided. As acute care moves to the home, vendors that can continue to support with integrated digital solutions throughout the care pathway, both in the hospital and the home, will succeed the most.
About the author: Kelly Patrick is a principal analyst with Signify Research, an independent supplier of market intelligence and consultancy to the global healthcare technology industry. Signify's major coverage areas are Healthcare IT, Medical Imaging and Digital Health. Its clients include technology vendors, healthcare providers and payers, management consultants and investors. Signify Research is headquartered in Cranfield, U.K.