A recent article in FierceHealthIT highlighted some of the main findings of a report by Grand View Research. Fueled by consumer demand, the market for telehealth hardware, software and services is expected to reach a whopping $2.8 billion by 2022.
“According to a report published by the Agency for Health Care Research and Quality (AHRQ), implementation of telehealth solutions improves care delivery to patients,” the report states. “By providing higher safety and quality standards to patients, demand for such systems is expected to rise over the forecast period and help the industry witness lucrative growth.”
The report also found that:
- Software, hardware and services were the main segments of the telehealth market. Software, which owns currently 18 percent of market share, will grow to 20.2 percent by 2022.
- Cloud-based delivery is growing rapidly because it’s easier to use, will allow services over a range of devices, and does not use up a lot of system memory.
- Between payers, providers and other end users of the technology, the most growth will be on the provider side as hospitals and health systems increasingly embrace the approach as a way to reduce costs, become more efficient, and improve health outcomes.
As evidence of the growing acceptance of telemedicine as a channel for health care delivery, Grand View points to a bill that would allow veterans greater access to telehealth services by allowing providers to practice across state lines. Current law allows the Veterans Administration to waive state licensure requirements only if both the patient and physician are physically at a VA facility. Home telehealth services require both physician and patient to be located in the same state. The VETS Act would allow VA healthcare professionals to practice across state lines and conduct telehealth services, including mental healthcare treatment, with patients in their own homes.
In addition to the Grand View research, FierceHealthIT also cites analysis from Accenture that estimates virtual health technology could save the industry $10 billion a year. “By using technology to collect patient information and consider treatment options prior to a patient visit, five minutes per encounter could be saved, according to the report. It puts an economic value on that time at $7 billion annually across the U.S. health system, and could “free up” the equivalent of 37,000 primary care physicians without the need to train or hire more doctors.”
It isn’t surprising that healthcare providers are turning to telemedicine as a way to improve their practice and satisfy patients. Telemedicine technology reduces healthcare costs, keeps people healthier and increases the efficiency of our overtaxed healthcare system. That’s good news for everyone.