Is telemedicine the future of American healthcare?
Telemedicine has been used successfully to improve patient access to medical care while reducing healthcare costs. In 2016, an estimated 61 percent of U.S. healthcare institutions and 40 to 50 percent of U.S. hospitals used telemedicine. From 2012 to 2013, the telemedicine market grew by 60 percent
Telemedicine continues to grow at an accelerated rate around the world. The market is expected to grow at a CAGR of 14.9% over the forecast period 2019 to 2026 as more hospitals and healthcare facilities bring this technology online. Telemedicine has the potential to reduce healthcare costs, improve patient outreach and health outcomes, and change the way providers treat their patients.
As time goes on, telemedicine technology will only get more advanced, further accelerating its influence in the healthcare industry. New devices and programs are helping providers better their patients and respond to ongoing health crises, such as the coronavirus.
Several states and countries are set to vote on meaningful telemedicine legislation in the coming months. Discover the future of telemedicine as we look ahead to 2020 and beyond.
Rising Demand for Telemedicine Services
Telemedicine continues to grow in popularity here in the U.S. and abroad largely due to the fact that more individuals are suffering from chronic diseases than ever before. According to the U.S. National Center for Health Statistics, there are currently around 40 million Americans limited in their usual activities due to one or more chronic health conditions. Furthermore, chronic diseases affect approximately 133 million Americans, representing more than 40% of the total population of this country. By 2020, that number is projected to grow to an estimated 157 million, with 81 million having multiple conditions.
When individuals are limited in their daily activities, they may have trouble visiting the doctor in person. Care providers can better monitor these patients as their condition continues to change, while keeping them at home where they feel more comfortable. As the number of patients with chronic diseases increases, so does demand for providers. Healthcare professionals can use telemedicine to better manage their patients, reduce no-shows and last-minute cancelations, improve efficiency, and reduce costs.
The rising number of patients with chronic conditions is largely due to the aging population. Elderly patients continue to account for the lion’s share of healthcare costs in the U.S. Care providers are using telemedicine to better treat and manage these patients, many of which may have trouble visiting their care
provider in person.
The Latest in Telemedicine Legislation
2020 is on track to be a major year for telemedicine expansion. Thanks to the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018, all Medicare two-sided ACOs will now be reimbursed for telemedicine delivered services to the home. They will also be exempt from Medicare’s geographic requirement, which will help providers better respond to the needs of elderly patients. Seniors no longer have to be in a specific geographic location, such as a Health Professional Shortage Area (HPSA), to access telemedicine services. We should see more providers, particularly those caring for elderly patients, utilizing this technology in the years to come now that Medicaid has loosened these restrictions.
Several states, including California and Georgia, have recently updated their laws to improve access to telemedicine services. Many of these laws establish payment parity for telemedicine services, which means providers will be reimbursed at the same rate as they would for services rendered in person. More states are also making room for remote patient monitoring and store-and-forward services, which will help providers monitor and care for patients that may be too sick to visit the office in person, such as those recovering from surgery, elderly patients, and those with chronic conditions.
Uneven regulation and healthcare legislation have made it difficult for providers to adopt this technology in years past, but as more states unify their efforts to increase adoption rates, telemedicine will likely continue to grow at an exponential rate.
The U.S. continues to be the leading market for telemedicine services, but several other countries and continents are making room for this technology, as well. Europe is on track to become the second-largest market for telemedicine, while the Asia-Pacific region is the fastest-growing region in the global market due to the rise in the geriatric population.
Telemedicine will continue to grow at a rapid rate here in the U.S. and around the world. Companies large and small are looking for ways to reduce healthcare costs while better serving the elderly population and those suffering from chronic conditions. Providers will need to adjust their approach to medicine and healthcare as these trends continue to take shape. Telemedicine can help providers better meet the needs of their patients without sacrificing the overall quality of care.
Visit Telemedicine App Development to learn more about the future of telemedicine.