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6 Surprising Facts About Telemedicine

By Laura Slade on Jan 3, 2018 10:34:36 AM

Topics: Telehealth

Telemedicine software is defined as “allowing a two-way, real time interactive communication between the patient, and the physician or practitioner at a distant site. This electronic communication relies on interactive telecommunication equipment that includes, at a minimum, audio and video equipment.” 

Surprising Facts About Telemedicine

Here are 6 facts and stats about telemedicine, and why it has such potential to change the face of healthcare as we know it.

1. Telemedicine makes up roughly one-fourth of the health IT market.

Valued at $15.6 billion in 2014, and projected to be worth $20 billion by 2019. Given the increased focus on making healthcare more accessible—both in and out of a doctor’s office—its unlikely this trend is set to shift anytime soon. Telemedicine providers and users alike can benefit from continuing to invest in improving and relying on services offered, given the industry’s ever-increasing value.

2. The global telemedicine technologies market—including hardware, software, and services—was valued at $17.8 billion; and that number has only grown since then.

Given the high prevalence of chronic diseases, rising smartphone use, consistent need for improved quality services, and a growing elderly population, the importance of telemedicine is only growing. As such, the market is diversifying, making it easier for established healthcare organizations to add telemedicine services to their repertoires.

3. 84% of surveyed healthcare executives rank the development of telemedicine services as either very important (52%) or important (32%) to their organizations.

Considering that telemedicine could potentially deliver more than $6 billion a year in healthcare savings to U.S. companies, it can come as no surprise that a large majority of healthcare executives believe investing in such services is a valuable idea. Whether through offering telemedicine services to employees or clients, the projected growth of telemedicine is expected to increase, driven by low costs of telemedicine technology itself.

4. The three states with the highest telemedicine adoption rates are Alaska (75%), Arkansas (71%), and South Dakota (70%). 

Telemedicine is a viable alternative to traditional in-person doctor’s visits, especially for patients in rural areas. Considering the higher than average rural populations in all three of these states, it’s hardly surprising that telemedicine has been the most widespread (and successful) there. The challenge for telemedicine arises in well-supplied healthcare markets, where there’s a glut of hospitals and providers in more urban areas.

5. About 67% of patients said that using telemedicine somewhat or significantly increases their satisfaction with medical care. 

This stems in part from patients also reporting that telemedicine increases their feelings of personal involvement in their own care. While telemedicine visits may lack the face-to-face benefits of more traditional visits, many patients report that the convenience of being at home and having a more instantaneous interaction with their physician makes telemedicine more appealing.

6. The top reason for implementing telemedicine: Improving quality of care, followed by the ability to reach new patients. 

Healthcare organizations’ leaders are most excited at the prospect of using telemedicine to keep patients healthy. Given the wide reach of telemedicine and it's affordability, this excitement is certainly not misplaced. Coming in at a close second is excitement about being able to reach new patients in a cost-effective and efficient way. As rural populations tend to be underserved—only about one in ten physicians practice in rural areas in the U.S.—the ability to reach distant patients is an appealing one for larger, more equipped healthcare providers.

As 2018 begins, healthcare innovations can only be expected to continue, and telemedicine in no exception. As more and more healthcare providers adopt the services, patients and physicians can expect to see its influence across a number of specialties.  

5 ways telemedicine enhances patient care for at home treatment

Laura Slade

Written by Laura Slade