Investment in on-demand healthcare companies--those that provide local near-real-time and 24/7 services--is expected to quadruple to $1 billion by the end of 2017, according to Accenture research.
Second only to the transportation industry, healthcare is the fastest-growing on-demand sector, representing one-fifth of total U.S. funding.
On-demand healthcare services are making the physician more accessible to patients while simultaneously reducing costs, Kaveh Safavi, M.D., senior managing director for Accenture's global health business, said in an announcement. She added that the sector provides opportunities to create unique, personalized experiences for patients.
Funding for primary care services leads the pack with more than $639 million in investments since 2010. On-demand specialty care services, including behavioral health and wellness, raised roughly $68 million during the same time period, according to the report.
It points to drivers for continued investment, including:
- Government support, including reimbursement for virtual doctor's appointments.
- Less pricey options, with virtual visits being up to 40 percent less expensive for primary care.
- Technology maturation, with demand expected to increase for mobile health services.
- Consumer expectations for seamless, coordinated healthcare services.
Telehealth is growing at a rapid rate, and a new survey found that about 74 percent of U.S. employers plan to offer it to employees in 2016. That number was at less than 50 percent for 2015, according to an annual survey by the National Business Group on Health.
But not all patients are OK with using the technology. Many feel uncomfortable participating in a virtual visit or distrust a diagnosis via telehealth, FierceHealthIT has previously reported.
To learn more:
- here's the report