The global telehealth market is expected to grow by more than a factor of 10 from 2013 to 2018, as medical providers increasingly employ remote communications and monitoring technology to reduce costs and improve the quality of care, according to IHS Technology.
Worldwide revenue for telehealth devices and services is expected to swell to $4.5 billion in 2018, up from $440.6 million in 2013, based on data from an IHS report entitled “World Market for Telehealth – 2014 Edition.” The number of patients using telehealth services will rise to 7 million in 2018, up from less than 350,000 in 2013, as presented in the attached figure.
Telehealth is defined as the use of medical devices and communication technology together to monitor diseases and symptoms.
“Amid rising expenses, an aging population and the increasing prevalence of chronic diseases, the healthcare industry must change the way it operates,” said Roeen Roashan, medical devices and digital health analyst at IHS Technology. “Telehealth represents an attractive solution to these challenges, increasing the quality of care while reducing overall healthcare expenditures.”
Results from telehealth programs reveal sharp decreases in readmission rates and mortality rates, alongside increases in adherence through patient engagement. These benefits make a strong business case for telehealth and will result in greater reimbursement from regulatory bodies. As a result, providers will integrate telehealth into their healthcare delivery.
In particular, the introduction of mobile health hubs is boosting the market, lowering the cost of telehealth while increasing overall value propositions.
Telehealth is especially helpful in managing the chronic conditions of those aged 65 and older – a group that constitutes a large percentage of the overall population – in the face of all-time-high levels of cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, cancer and obesity. Telehealth also offers scalable healthcare in a cost-efficient way at a time of increasing pressure on the healthcare sector for personnel and resources.
While telehealth mainly has been applied to post-acute patients, providers are now looking to monitor the health of entire populations. This process, called population health management (PMH), is further expanding the total available market for telehealth.
Other factors that will benefit the expansion of telehealth include the anticipated growth in wearable technology and the quantified self within a connected home context, aimed at developing a sustainable platform for preventive care.