Telemedicine Forecast $67M in 2021: How to Select Collaboration Technologies, Improve QoS, and Get the Metrics You Need to Succeed
Telemedicine is no longer considered a separate, medical specialty – it’s pervasive throughout the healthcare industry. Yet, as with any technology offering, telemedicine comes with it’s challenges. Although services are readily available to patients through hospitals, specialty departments, home health agencies, and private physicians, there are a great deal of pressures factors falling on IT teams restraining success.
- Matching the right telecommunication technology to end-users
- Managing QoS and video call quality
- Providing the data needed for legal and reimbursement issues
Now, this isn’t even an exhaustive list, but it gives you an idea of the scope of the issues IT must manage related to telehealth. Let’s start by defining come commonly confused industry terms.
Defining “Telemedicine” and “Telehealth”
First and foremost, let’s define the difference between the terms “telemedicine” and “telehealth.” They are often used interchangeably; however, the differences in offerings between the two can impact the way that IT teams select and manage telecommunication technologies.
Telehealth: This term includes a broad range of technologies and services aiming to provide patient care and improve the healthcare delivery system as a whole. Telehealth to a broader scope of remote healthcare services, and can refer to remote non-clinical services, such as provider training, administrative meetings, and continuing medical education, in addition to clinical services. The World Health Organization but it well when they stated that telehealth includes, “surveillance, health promotion, and public health functions.”
Telemedicine: This term refers specifically to remote clinical services and it involves the use of electronic communications and software to provide clinical services to patients without an in-person visit. Telemedicine technology is frequently used for follow-up visits, management of chronic conditions, medication management, specialist consultation, and a host of other clinical services that can be provided remotely via secure video and audio connections.
Benefits of Telemedicine Influence a $67M Forecast for 2021
According to Mordor Intelligence’s Telemedicine Market Report, the telemedicine market is expected to reach $66,606M (USD) by 2021 which indicates growth at a CAGR of 18.8 %. This growth was mainly attributed to the potential of telemedicine to continue to revolutionize healthcare as a service. The American Telemedicine Association (ATA), states that telemedicine can be conducted by leveraging a variety of applications and services using two-way video, email, smart phones, wireless tools, and other forms of telecommunications technology making healthcare readily available to anyone – anywhere.
- Less time away from work
- No travel expenses or time
- Less interference with child or elder care responsibilities
- No exposure to other potentially contagious patients
- Increased revenue
- Improved office efficiency
- An answer to the competitive threat of retail health clinics and online-only providers
- Better patient follow through and improved health outcomes
- Fewer missed appointments and cancellations
- Private payer reimbursement
There are very few limitations to how telemedicine can be applied. Here are a few examples of how telemedicine is being used and the results a successful offering can yield.
- Follow-Up Visits: Using health software for routine follow-up visits is not only more efficient for providers and patients, but it also increases the likelihood of follow-up, reducing missed appointments and improving patient outcomes.
- Remote Chronic Disease Management: The increasing rate of chronic disease is a major challenge for our health system. It is a prime candidate for the use of telemedicine software because it makes it easier and less expensive for patients to maintain control over their health.
- Remote Post-Hospitalization Care: One telehealth program for patients with congestive heart failure reduced 30-day hospital readmissions by 73% and six-month readmissions by 50%.
- Preventative Care Support: Weight loss and smoking cessation are the keys to reducing heart disease and a host of other conditions. Telemedicine can be a valuable tool in connecting providers with patients to make sure they get the support they need to be successful.
- School-Based Telehealth: When children become ill at school, they might visit a school nurse or be picked up by their parents and taken to an urgent care center. Some innovative districts have teamed up with doctors to conduct remote visits from the school. The provider can assess the urgency of the case and provide instructions or reassurance to parents.
- Assisted Living Center Support: Telemedicine software has already proven to be useful in keeping residence of assisted living facilities out of the hospital. Problems often occur at night or on weekends, making hospitalization the only option even for less urgent problems. With telemedicine, on-call doctors can conduct a remote visit to determine if hospitalization is necessary.
How to Address Limited Success in Telemedicine
Although cost and lack of infrastructure can be attributed to the lack of success for some telemedicine programs, ultimately things boil down to the management of telecommunications technology. Let’s take a look at the primary issues IT teams are faced with when it comes to supporting telemedicine for their organizations.
1) Matching the Right Collaboration Technology to End-Users
Frost & Sullivan recent white paper, The Growing Use of Videoconferencing in the Healthcare Market, does a lovely job highlighting key trends for the use of telecommunications within the telemedicine market. Along with the influence of geographical location and country-based restrictions, this report dives into recent age trends and makes some interesting predictions. Due to millions of baby boomers now retiring, technology innovators can be found designing and building a new market for them that will allow those non-tech savvy, senior citizens to communicate with healthcare providers and from their homes or assisted living facilities.
However, more interestingly, Grand View Research’s recent report indicates web-based telecommunication’s “delivery mode” market held 78% of the share in 2014 and is expected to grow at a CAGR of 17.3% by 2022. Meanwhile, cloud-based delivery mode is anticipated to be the fastest growing segment over the forecast period with a CAGR of 19.5% owing to the advantages such as easier usability, limited memory requirement, and possibility of using the system on any device. Rising investment by IT firms in cloud computing is expected to raise their demand over the forecast period.