An article published Monday on Healthcare IT News examined the global telemedicine market based on a report by Mordor Intelligence. The report predicts that the market will grow to be greater than $34 billion by the end of this decade.
Currently, North America holds the largest share in the telemedicine market globally. The report attributes market growth to an increase in the elderly population, chronic disease, and the software market. As the cost of healthcare continues to rise, telemedicine offers an appealing alternative, with several benefits:
- Patient consults can be done quickly and efficiently via video conferencing technology with primary care providers or specialists.
- Remote monitoring can greatly improve the accessibility of healthcare in rural areas and developing countries. It is also beneficial for reducing readmission rates and following up with patients.
- Telemedicine offers providers opportunities for continuing medical education through various seminars and discussions
- Patients can easily access reliable sources of information to keep themselves updated on their care.
Despite the many positive aspects, there are some negatives as well. The article lists a lack of support from providers, poor implementation, and high costs of technology among the factors that may impede telemedicine market growth. There are also different laws in each state, making it difficult to enforce generalized rules. In June of this year, the American Medical Association made the decision to defer the guidelines they had created due to inconsistencies with state policies.
According to the article, companies identified as key players in the market include IBM, Siemens, Allscripts, Roche, and many more.
Telemedicine is also closely linked with health information technology, as it utilizes health IT in order to provide care. A relatively new idea derived from telemedicine is “on demand” care. Imagine being able to get on your mobile device and instantly speak with a physician. Doctor On Demand is a service that aims to enable exactly that. A June 2015 article from MedCityNews discusses telemedicine kiosks from the company that have been installed in some Northeast grocery stores in order to provide virtual clinics.
Considering the progress being made, this may just become the future of medicine.
Author: Apoorva Anupindi