Home is not only where the heart is, but also where the telehealth market is focused, based on a recently published Frost & Sullivan survey from the American Telemedicine Association's 2013 annual meeting.
The home, including remote patient monitoring, is the area of biggest impact and opportunity in the telehealth market, driving interest from major device makers and startups alike. Startups from other countries--especially from Asia--have their eye on the U.S. market, according to an announcement.
After home-based monitoring, respondents cited video telemedicine providing diagnostic consultation and remote specialist services, and telemental health as areas that will have the biggest impact on the market in the coming years.
The telehealth industry is really a mix of different sub-markets, and many non-U.S. startups lack differentiation or effective field sales strategy, according to Frost & Sullivan. Many tout similar devices or hub/cloud services using an Android operating system.
While respondents cited improved access to care and reduced costs as the major benefits of telehealth, reimbursement remains a major barrier. New payment models, vendor strategies to achieve payment and expanded reimbursement will have a positive impact on telehealth going forward, respondents said.
The growing number of patents filed under telehealth provide evidence of the upswing in the sector.
An estimated 7 million people are expected to use telehealth services by 2018 as its popularity continues to grow. Chetan Mukudan, M.D., of Nashville's Heritage Pediatrics, however, warns that despite its advantages, it also could fragment care -- especially in cases where telehealth replaces a trip to the pediatrician.
The Department of Veterans Affairs has been vastly expanding use of telehealth to provide mental health care and a bill in the U.S. House seeks to clear up a mishmash of state laws that inhibit adoption.