The market for electronic skin patches is expected to reach over $10bn by 2023 according to a new report by analyst IDTechEx Research.
The report is the most comprehensive study compiled for the emerging product and forecasts strong expectations in the market. It highlights the areas in which electronic skin patches are the most beneficial and points out their useful capabilities in comparison to traditional wearable devices.
For instance, the report details how skin patches offer much greater choice in terms of device positioning and can be attached almost anywhere on the body. This is particularly relevant when the sensor requires a position close to a certain part of the body (e.g. on the upper chest for sensing the heart, around the head for monitoring concussions, etc.).
More so, patches enable a more consistent means for contact between the device and the body, offering a more consistent electrical interface for stable sensor readings. The report shows how these advantages are relevant in the two largest applications for electronic skin patches: cardiovascular monitoring and diabetes management.
In cardiovascular monitoring, mobile cardiac telemetry (MCT) devices sit alongside Holter monitors and cardiac event monitors, each of which can be deployed as a skin patch. They allow for different levels of ambulatory monitoring, enabling at-risk patients to avoid the risks associated with remaining as an inpatient, but providing a higher quality of data that can be achieved by other devices such as a smartwatch.
In diabetes management, challenges in the markets around traditional self-monitoring of blood glucose via test strips are driving innovation. Companies have developed continuous glucose monitoring devices (CGM) which can give a longer-term picture of blood glucose levels, and are even achieving approval to work directly with insulin pumps, moving towards “closed-loop” systems. Both CGM devices and insulin pumps can be deployed using different types of skin patch.