Wiseguy Reports projects telemedicine to be a $64 billion industry by 2022. Contributing factors to the rise include technological innovation, an aging population and the relative affordability in a heathcare market with rising costs.
What is Telemedicine?
Put simply, telemedicine is a video conference doctor’s visit. Physicians evaluate and diagnose patients through a telemedicine visit, while patients use a home monitoring kit to measure blood pressure, take temperature and weight. The data feeds into an app along with a questionnaire asking things like “how severe is your pain?” The remote physician receives all the data prior to the appointment.
Benefits of Telemedicine
The benefits of telemedicine are cost and convenience. Patients may not have to take off work or drive long distances for doctors visits, particularly benefiting patients in rural areas. Some patients may have child care responsibilities making in-person visits complex. Providers benefit from a streamlined system, fewer cancellations and increased revenue.
Uses of Telemedicine
Currently telemedicine thrives in specific health sectors. According to a study published in JAMA 53% of telemedicine visits between 2005 and 2017 were telemental health while 39% were primary care. Other common telemedical uses include postoperative follow up visits, remote chronic disease management, preventative care and assisted living center support.
Though most patients continue to see their physicians in person, many factors point to telemedicine’s increase. Physicians will be incentivized as more states pass “parity” laws requiring insurance companies to reimburse the same amounts for remote visits. Currently 32 states have parity laws. Telemedicine providers currently use their own portal and tablet, but once telemedicine becomes a smartphone app, expect to see a precipitous increase across many health services.