Telehealth Market – Global Trends, 2017-2025

Increasing prevalence of chronic disease with rising healthcare expenditures and high adoption of health IT infrastructure to support telehealth initiatives are also expected to further boost growth of the telehealth market. Veterans Health Administration (VHA) – the largest integrated health care system in the U.S. uses multiple types of telehealth interventions, which provides both routine and targeted care management services. The 2017 finding from Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), stated that telehealth and telemedicine payments increased by 28% and claims increased by 33% in 2016, over the year 2015.

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According to the 2017 U.S. Telemedicine Industry Benchmark Survey conducted among healthcare executives, physicians, nurses, and other healthcare professionals throughout the U.S., it was observed that over half of survey participants noted telemedicine as a top priority or high priority service in their respective organizations. Moreover, study findings also show that telemedicine continues to evolve from a specialty service to a mainstream service. Telehealth is a telecommunication technology, which is also referred to as e-Health or telemedicine. It enables healthcare professionals to evaluate, diagnose, and treat patients in remote locations. According to the 2016 E-health and Telemedicine report by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, it revealed that 59 million Americans are living in Health Professional Shortage Area (HPSAs)-rural and urban areas with shortages of primary care providers.

Telehealth helps in improving relationship between patients and healthcare provider for enhanced patient care and satisfaction. Telehealth provides medical expertise in quick and convenient manner, and at reduced cost. Using telehealth, healthcare professionals can advise patients at their homes and workplaces. Physicians can also treat their patients from hospitals, medical facilities or from other places of work including their own homes or even during vacation as long as they are connected through the Internet.

Increasing number of geriatric population, higher incidences of non-communicable disease such as cardiovascular disease, metabolic disorders, Alzheimer’s disease, cancer, diabetics, and other mental health problems which require prolonged treatment would aid in growth of the telehealth market in near future. The nature of most non-communicable disease (NCDs) requires well-integrated healthcare system to treat chronic healthcare conditions. Moreover the challenges faced to meet required healthcare professionals, financial and infrastructure resources further can be addressed effectively through telehealth market. The 2016 Physician Supply and Demand Report, released by Association of American Medical College (AAMC), projects the significant physician shortfall in the U.S. between 2014 and 2025, in the range of 61,700 to 94,700.

Iincreasing prevalence of chronic disease with rising healthcare expenditures and high adoption of health IT infrastructure to support telehealth initiatives are also expected to further boost growth of the telehealth market. Veterans Health Administration (VHA) – the largest integrated health care system in the U.S. uses multiple types of telehealth interventions, which provides both routine and targeted care management services. The 2017 finding from Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), stated that telehealth and telemedicine payments increased by 28% and claims increased by 33% in 2016, over the year 2015.

However, lack of trained professionals in remote areas, privacy and information security concerns, and low availability of telecommunication bandwidth are the major factors adversely affecting growth of the telehealth market. 

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According to the 2016 Broadband Progress Report from Federal Communications Commission, around 40% of rural Americans still lack access to broadband Internet. Furthermore, according to the 5G Readiness Survey 2017, by Ericsson AB, 78% respondents of IT decision makers from all major verticals including healthcare have accelerated their plans to incorporate 5G into their IT infrastructure.

Increased adaptation of telehealth will significantly decrease the dependency on hospitals, and enable accessibility to proper healthcare services from home. A report published in March 2017, by NTCA-The Rural Broadband Association stated that, telemedicine could save thousand dollars per year in healthcare and community costs, thereby, reducing significant cost spent on transportation, medical facility, labor wages, and lab cost.   

Government initiatives aid in boosting growth of the telehealth market

The new CONNECT (Creating Opportunities Now for Necessary and Effective Care Technologies) for Health Act, introduced in June 2017, will promote cost savings and improve quality care in Medicare through telehealth and remote patient monitoring, in the U.S. The new act will provide efficient healthcare services to Medicare beneficiaries through telemedicine and remote patient monitoring (RPM). In addition, the act permits the use of remote patient monitoring for patients suffering with chronic conditions. In 2017, Southwest Telehealth Resource Center (SWTRC), received US$ 975,000 cooperative agreement grant from the Federal Office for the Advancement of Telehealth (OAT). Such grants will help in adoption of telehealth programs in hospitals, clinic, and public health offices in the underserved areas in the U.S.

Key players in the telehealth market

Some of the key players operating in the telehealth market include Koninklijke Philips N.V., Medtronic plc, Tunstall Healthcare Group Ltd, McKesson Corporation, Medvivo Group Ltd., AMD Global Telemedicine, Inc., Vidyo, Inc., Cisco Systems, Inc., Care Innovations, LLC, Honeywell Life Care Solutions, and General Electric Company.

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