The global healthcare market for medical wearables just passed its physical with flying colors, with a new study predicting the segment will grow a respectable 30% by 2020.

An article by Enterprise Innovation reports the results of a study by research firm Frost & Sullivan that predicts the global healthcare market for wearable devices will blossom from $5.1 billion in 2015 to $18.9 billion in 2020. This represents a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 29.9%.

The report also found that connected consumer health devices will post a CAGR of almost 28% while growth in clinical-grade wearables will reach nearly 33%.

As reported previously, much of this growth will be driven by the increasing number of seniors who will suffer ill health and have the money to tackle their medical issues with new technology.

“Breakthrough technological innovations in wearable electronics, sensors, alternate power sources and wireless platforms are enabling novel applications that would not have been feasible even five years ago,” said Venkat Rajan, Transformational Health Director with Frost & Sullivan. “Moving beyond basic consumer-centric applications, newer wearable devices with more robust and reliable feature sets open a wide spectrum of clinical use cases.”

Clinical uses of wearables will transform market

Chronic disease monitoring and other clinical uses are anticipated to have a transformative effect on care provision models. Though clinical grade devices promise care that is less restricted by geography and traditional scheduling, the report says the new devices need to justify their cost by demonstrating the benefits of improved functionality and data insight.

“Clinical wearables must concurrently justify their value to payers, patients, and clinicians to gain a market foothold,” noted Rajan. “Confidence in the accuracy of collected data is paramount to the utility of information in any medical decision support.”

Despite the expanding horizons for the segment, there are still challenges looming ahead, as seen by the many medical wearables that have struggled to succeed after launching to great fanfare. The report particularly cautions about device-makers wishing to include every bell and whistle, and ending up creating products that are overly complex.

“The effort required on the user side to understand, maintain or properly operate the device would often lead to high abandonment rates after a few months,” the report said.