As 2015 comes to a close and we all enjoy a little egg nog and time with family and friends, we took a look back at how the growing adoption of telemedicine and related technologies made news in 2015. Not surprisingly, this year was full of breakthroughs and hints at what is yet to come. Here are a few highlights.
State lawmakers introduced more than 200 telemedicine bills in 2015
MobiHealthNews reports that all but eight states introduced at least one bill related to telemedicine to their state legislature in 2015. State lawmakers offered a total of 200 bills nationwide. In addition to state legislation in 2015, the federal government introduced two bills that could supersede local laws for VA and Medicare patients. The TELEmedicine for MEDicare Act of 2015 (TELEMED Act) and the Veterans E-Health and Telemedicine Support Act of 2015 would create an interstate license for providing care to VA and Medicare populations. Read more.
Research and Markets: European Telemedicine Market Worth USD 12.6 Billion by 2019 – Analysis, Growth, Trends & Forecasts 2015-2019
Telemedicine is not just taking off in the United States. The European telemedicine market will almost triple to $12.6 billion in 2019. Just like in the US, the major driving forces for the increasing use of telemedicine are the increasing aged population, rising cost of healthcare, and the rising prevalence of chronic diseases. Read more.
ABA 15: Telemedicine movement gaining steam
It’s not just physicians who are taking note of the role that telemedicine has to play in the future of healthcare. The legal community is also addressing both the opportunity and the risks. Discussion at the American Bar Association Health Law’s annual Washington Health Law Summit included information about how providers need to watch for several legal issues, including state licensure concerns, practice standards, state fee-splitting prohibitions, the corporate practice of medicine, and anti-kickback statutes. Read more.
80% Of Patients Open To Telemedicine
A report from PricewaterhouseCooper’s Health Research Institute finds many consumers are open to embracing telehealth innovations in primary care. “With rising costs and increased demand, primary care practitioners need to rethink their business models to unlock value — and be rewarded for their contributions,” Dr. Simon Samaha, a principal in PwC’s US Health Industries practice, said in a statement. “We’re going to see non-traditional players shake up the industry using new technologies and innovative approaches focused on convenience for patients and value for providers.” Read more.
Future physicians need telemedicine education, training
Not only is telemedicine changing the way that today’s providers practice medicine, it is also changing the way that future practitioners are being trained. Experts from the University of California, San Francisco School of Medicine write that because of the potential that telemedicine software provides, “Educators across the continuum of medical education must help prepare physicians to engage in the safe and effective use of telemedicine.” Read more.
We would declare 2015, “The Year of Telemedicine,” but we think that 2016 will be even more eventful. The combination of advances in telemedicine software technology and the public’s increasing acceptance of it as an alternative to many in-person visits means that we’ll see more changes in practices and law to accommodate the demand for this convenient and cost saving approach to care. 2016 is shaping up to be an exciting year in the industry indeed. Meanwhile, let us wish you all a very happy holiday season and a healthy New Year!