It’s no secret that telemedicine is a rapidly growing industry – and 2016 looks to be its biggest year yet. According to a report released earlier this month by Accenture, funding for telemedicine is set to quadruple by 2017, growing to almost a billion dollars in annual investment. They attribute this spike to five key factors:
- Government-mandated change – Insurers are increasingly extending their coverage to include telemedicine and government policy is being drafted to encourage and support the trend.
- Attractive economics – Inevitably when discussing telemedicine, the issue of cost arises. Telehealth initiatives have the potential to drastically decrease the cost of healthcare across the board – for patients and insurers alike.
- Technology maturation – In today’s day and age, with widespread connectivity and high levels of smartphone ownership, the potential user pool for mobile health technology has expanded enormously.
- Cultural adoption – As telemedicine becomes increasingly mainstream, consumers are embracing the concept of convenient, affordable healthcare options that cater to their specific needs and lifestyles.
- Emerging care models – Payers are looking to create comprehensive care packages that not only attract members but also lower associated costs.
The coalescing of these various trends promises to catapult telehealth towards unprecedented growth and mainstream adoption. It is no longer a matter of “if”, but rather “when”.
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