The scale of the nursing care ICT market in Japan
The scale of the nursing care ICT market in Japan
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The market for nursing care ICTs (information and communication technologies) in Japan will grow at an average annual rate of 16% from 2012 to 2017 to about ¥90 billion (approx US$1.1 billion), according to the results of a research conducted by Techno Systems Research (TSR) Co Ltd, a Japan-based research firm.

If the nursing care ICT market is divided into the B-to-B, B-to-B-to-C and B-to-B segments, the B-to-B segment has the largest market, which mainly consists of software for requesting for nursing cares, maintaining nursing facilities, care management and other major operations of nursing care companies, TSR said.

Of the three segments, the B-to-B-to-C segment will grow at the fastest rate, from about ¥8.2 billion in 2012 to about ¥24 billion in 2017, according to TSR. Especially, monitoring systems for nursing facilities with beds and medical institutions will have more advanced functions, and they will improve the operational efficiencies of nursing and medical staff and increase the satisfaction levels of service recipients at the same time, the firm said.

TSR predicts that, in the B-to-C segment, the introduction of monitoring systems and medication systems, which are for ensuring that patients take correct medicines, will advance. It also considers that the potential need for medication systems is very high.

"It is difficult for elderly people to take medicines," the company said. "In many cases, they cannot take medicines as instructed by their doctors. And it is often uncertain if they have taken medicines or not. Many vendors consider that medication systems using ICTs and electronic technologies will solve such a problem."

In the nursing care market, robots for communications, helping patients to become self-reliant, helping caregivers, etc are expected to form a large market. However, in addition to the need for advanced technologies to realize such robots, it takes time to collect clinical data. Therefore, the growth of the market for them will be slow, TSR said.