In 2015, an article published on Healthcare IT News examined the global telemedicine market based on a report by Mordor Intelligence, which predicted that the market will grow to be greater than $34 billion by the end of this decade. Mordor published a new telemedicine report in February of this year that predicts even greater market growth for telemedicine, reaching $66 billion by 2021.
Visit this page to see an overview of the Mordor Report.
Factors Driving Telemedicine Market Growth
The report attributes this compounding annual growth to the expectation for telemedicine to revolutionary delivery of healthcare by offering doctors and patients the ability to securely connect via text, video or audio from any private location at any time. Innovation in healthcare technology, with emphasis on remote, proactive patient monitoring, and the increasing use of treatments that require meaningful but convenient patient engagement, are driving factors to growth in the telemedicine market. Telemedicine works particularly well in service to the elderly and less mobile populations, and in care for chronic disease.
As the cost of healthcare continues to rise, telemedicine has offered an appealing alternative to traditional brick and mortar settings, with several benefits:
- Patient consults can be performed quickly and efficiently via text, video or audio (phone call) technologies 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.’
Telemedicine is closely linked with health information technology, as it utilizes health IT in order to provide care. This has led to the idea of telemedicine as “on demand” care, i.e., the ability get on your mobile device and instantly speak with a physician. Telemedicine mobile apps have made healthcare even easier and faster to access from any location with just one click.
Limiting Factors for the Telemedicine Market
Despite the many positive aspects contributing to market growth, there are a few factors that limit the market. There still remain legal and reimbursement issues. In many situations, telemedicine laws for reimbursement are handled state-by-state, so reimbursement might vary for the same procedures. For example, in some treatments, a video connection is a prerequisite for financial reimbursement in one state, where another may regard an audio engagement as equivalent to an in-person visit. These inconsistencies are a challenge to telemedicine that is continually addressed by organizations like the American Telehealth Association. Another challenge is the adoption of medical practitioners who may be less technically adept, as the some doctors are in their late fifties and are more comfortable practicing medicine in traditional settings.
Moving Forward with Innovative Telemedicine
Even considering the limiting factors to market growth, more physicians are adopting telemedicine in their practices to bring convenient, low-cost, high-quality care to their patients. Investing in telemedicine is a method by which a medical practice can extend its business beyond geographic limitations and will continue to grow as applications and infrastructure continues evolving to meet or exceed the value of traditional clinical locations.