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The Telehealth Tipping Point

18 Sep 2015 by Christine Kern

The rise of the Internet of Things is transforming healthcare by increasing interoperability between devices, opening new options for treatment and proactive care.

“Telemedicine is poised to be the next big thing in health IT,” wrote Ken Congdon, chief editor of Pharmaceutical Online. “The most promising aspect of telemedicine is the impact the technology can have on population health and patient care.”

Telemedicine — from video conferencing to electronic messaging and remote patient monitoring — helps healthcare providers keep track of patients with chronic conditions and proactively intervene to keep them well, and reduce costly ER visits and hospital admissions.

According to the American Health Information Management Association, telemedicine offers benefits to patients and providers, including reduced costs, improved access to physicians and services, improved continuity of care, and even the potential for reduced travel costs and time off work.

While these are the overall reasons for the trend toward telehealth, the specific causes are:

What is putting telehealth on the fast track?

Cloud computing is making a difference in the healthcare industry. A recent Enterprise Management Associates (EMA) Healthcare IT survey found that by 2020, 80% of healthcare data will pass through the cloud at some point in its lifetime. Also, 65% of consumer transactions with healthcare organizations will be mobile by 2018.

A growing aged population, increasing incidences of chronic diseases, and a rapid rise in the software market have combined to drive the telehealth expansion. The reimbursement barriers to telehealth also continue to shrink as physicians and insurers become more cognizant of the benefits this technology can deliver to providers, patients and the overall healthcare system.

As high-profile facilities like the Cleveland Clinic and Mass General embrace telemedicine, the barriers to adoption become far less daunting to other healthcare providers. And as federal regulations recognize telemedicine as legitimate and on-part with face-to-face encounters and address reimbursement accordingly, the floodgates will open and unleash the tide of telehealth.

According to Kalorama Information, the global advanced patient monitoring market — including devices, peripherals, software, packaged services and other applications— is currently worth approximately $31.4 billion.

A recent Mordor Intelligence Report, “Global Telemedicine Market – Growth, Trends & Forecasts (2015-2020),” also predicted the global telemedicine market will reach more than $34 billion by the end of the decade, with North America representing more than 40% of the global market size.

What is the last piece to the telemedicine puzzle?

Patients may remain the final obstacle to the widespread adoption of telemedicine. In a recent nationwide study from TechnologyAdvice Research, approximately three-quarters of patients stated that they either would distrust a diagnosis made via telemedicine, or that they would trust it less than one made during an in-office visit.

Healthcare will continue to advance, and you need the technology to evolve with it. At Insight, we’ll assist you at every stage. Visit us online, or call us at 1.800.INSIGHT.