We’re going to keep hearing a lot about telemedicine in 2016. This wide-encompassing field allows people to consult medical professionals via technology for a range of illnesses or maintenance follow-up from work or home. The studies continue to show growing interest in telemedicine from both sides of the coin, thus increasing its popularity and use.
Insurers have jumped on the bandwagon and have begun to partner with telemedicine providers for a number of their health plans. According to Workforce’s January article, “Insurers Connecting to Telemedicine” Aflac added teleservices to its group critical-illness plans last November. Blue Cross Blue Shield Association partnered with provider American Well in 2014 as did Anthem Inc. to offer telemedicine services to approximately 3.5 millions of its members. It’s expected that more health plans will rollout teleservices in pilot programs or targeted geographic areas in 2016.
There is also growing interest from patients and employers for alternatives that are technology-based, digital-based or video-based. According to American Well’s 2015 telehealth survey, 64 percent of patients said they would have a video telehealth doctor visit. Telemedicine made HR magazine’s Top 7 Benefit Trends to Watch in 2016 as they noted its many benefits for employers and employees, including its cost-effectiveness.
In fact there are many statistics that support the claim that telemedicine is on the rise. In a piece posted by eVisit they surveyed current data and research on telemedicine and put together all the statistics you should know. Here’s a quick look at five stats that really show the growth of telemedicine:
- About 90% of healthcare executives surveyed report that their organizations have begun developing or already implemented a telemedicine program (Foley 2014 Telemedicine Survey Executive Summary)
- The number of telemedicine patients will increase from 350,000 in 2013 to 7 million in 2018 (Cisco Customer Experience Report)
- In 2015, 29 states already required health insurers to pay for telemedicine services and another 26 bills were pending in Congress (How Telemedicine Became Mainstream)
- About 22% of employers with 1,000 or more employees offer telemedicine services and another 37% planned to by the end of 2015 (Foley 2014 Telemedicine Survey Executive Summary)
- Telemedicine makes up nearly one-fourth of the health IT market that was valued at $15.6 billion in 2014 and is expected to increase to approximately $20 billion by 2019 (IHS Press Release)
For more information, see the following Healthcare Trends Institute Resources: