ROCKVILLE, Md., Aug. 30, 2017 /PRNewswire/ --It's hard to find anyone who is against the concept of telehealth. Connecting patients to nurses and doctors so they can be monitored at home. Hospitals like increasing the staff per patient ratio, physicians find they can keep track of more patients. Governments and insurance companies like reducing hospital stays and hopefully cost of care. Patients love more time at home. And for all of these reasons market researcher Kalorama Information estimates there is a 17 billion-dollar market for telehealth worldwide. The company has recently published a study: Telehealth and Patient Monitoring Markets.
Telehealth (telemedicine can be used as well) a set of technologies that include sending images to a specialist, live two-way video consultations between patient and provider, capturing and sending data from monitoring devices, and/or incorporating data and images into EMRs. Reasons for using telehealth include improved access to healthcare for patients in remote locations; cost effectiveness; and patient demand.
"The concept is great but in devices, rubber hits road in reimbursement and pricing," said Bruce Carlson, Publisher of Kalorama Information. "Who pays for the equipment, the ongoing services and the software? The result of these collective decisions is where a market is created."
In addition to researching financial results and interviewing equipment makers, Kalroama surveyed provider end users of telehealth equipment. Kalorama found that the following is true about the telehealth market today:
Telehealth is No Fad. Use grows every year. In the United States, on demand telehealth has increased by about 20% annually, with about 1.1 million patients using these services in 2016. Overall, the average number of televisits is between 3 and 3.5, which generates upwards of 3.7 million visits for 2016. Services billed for telemonitoring in the U.S. amount to about $270 million for 2016. This is calculated using a $73 average visit cost and taking the middle average for visits of 3.25 million. Worldwide there are between 4 and 5 million consumers using telehealth services for which the number of visits annually vary widely by managed health condition.
This is Not Just a U.S. Concept.There's a lot of attention on this issue in the U.S. market, but vendors are marketing around the globe: 4 out of every 10 dollars generated in this market is generated outside the U.S.
Referrals and Prescriptions Drive Telehealth. Kalorama's survey found that Many of the providers offered data regarding drug prescribing and referrals during a telehealth visit. Of the providers surveyed, estimates for prescribing drugs ranged from 20-40% of all visits and referrals to other providers were reported at 15-20% of visits.
Reimbursement Is an Issue But an Improving One: Without reimbursement, most medical device concepts fail. Telehealth can still be useful even if a payor declines as there is a provider buyer market. Still reimbursement is important for future growth. Most providers reported barriers to using telehealth technology or implementing systems due to reimbursement issues. On average, it was ranked at 7.22 on a scale from 1-10 as being the most significant cause of delay for implementing a telehealth system. Still, this situation is getting better. Reimbursement policies for telemedicine, telehealth, telemonitoring, or any remote monitoring vary widely by U.S. states. In recent years, a number of states have continued to adopt legislation, which includes live-video telemedicine/telehealth services and reimburses at comparable levels and rates as in-person visits. Effective January 1, 2017 the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services changed the reimbursement calculation structure for remote monitoring services. For many service providers, this resulted in an increase in reimbursement for 2017.
Mental Health is an Opportunity Area: Telemedicine in the area of mental health disorders and conditions is often referred to as telemental health or telepsychiatry. One area of mental health therapy is PTSD a type of anxiety disorder brought on by very traumatic situations such as war. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, approximately eight million adult Americans have PTSD in a given year. In the past, PTSD was considered a 'weakness' and this often lead to early military discharge or other peer rejection.
Kalorama Information, a division of MarketResearch.com, supplies the latest in independent medical market research in diagnostics, biotech, pharmaceuticals, medical devices and healthcare; as well as a full range of custom research services. Reports can be purchased through Kalorama's website and are also available on www.marketresearch.com and www.profound.com.
We routinely assist the media with healthcare topics. Follow us on Twitter, LinkedIn and our blog on our company website.