AcuteCare Telemedicine Blog


Telehealth Market Expected to Reach $17 Billion by 2020

Growth within the telemedicine marketplace continues to reach a fever pitch. Fueled by the shortage of physicians, increasing aged population, rising healthcare costs and expanding health insurance coverage for virtual healthcare, the emerging telemedicine market is set to soar in the coming decade. While some experts attribute telemedicine’s popularity to the to rise in smartphone use and consistent demand for quality virtual services, many healthcare systems are trying to reduce both the number of hospital visits and the length of stay in hospitals.

A new report entitled, “The Global Telemedicine Market Outlook 2020, studied the complete telemedicine industry which includes hardware, software and services. The telemedicine technologies market is anticipated to grow 8.4% and surpass $30 billion by 2020. “The report is a detailed study on the geographical distribution of telemedicine with the market sizes of North America, Europe and Asia-Pacific and provides an insight into different telemedicine applications.” North America is the largest market globally, accounting for more than 40 percent of the global market size.

Telemedicine, and the broader and increasingly more favorable term telehealth, includes medical services which use electronic information and telecommunications technologies to support long-distance clinical healthcare. The relationship between telemedicine and health IT is recognized as complementary by the reports researchers.

Another report from information and analytics firm HIS predicts video consultations will jump to nearly 27 million in the U.S. market, a doubling of virtual video consultations between primary health care providers and their patients, in the next five years. The IHS report projects a cumulative annual growth of nearly 25% a year to 5.4 million video consultations by 2020. Healthcare payers are recognizing telehealth as a way for patients to get high quality care from a physician and to avoid a more expensive trip to a hospital emergency room. “We’ve seen growth in reimbursement,” Roeen Roashan, medical technology analyst with IHS said in a recent interview. “Specialty consultations are projected to jump from 14.5 million to 21.5 million.”

As the industry reaches new heights, the pace of growth will continue to be moderated by tepid physician support, outdated reimbursement models, technology costs, and legal and governmental regulations regarding telehealth practices. The industry has made significant changes in delivery models for clinical and acute care in the last 5 years. Telemedicine and telehealth programs are certainly proving to be the future of healthcare.


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