By Mark Terry
Driven by federal mandates and financial stimulus built into the HITECH Act, the U.S. home health technology market will double to reach $5.8 billion by 2018, according to a new report published by IHS.
Both devices and services are starting to converge giving consumers more comprehensive solutions, according to report author Roeen Roashan, an IHS analyst for consumer medical devices and digital health.
"As they become more comprehensive, the gap between clinical care and home health becomes more narrow, which is necessary to provide patient centered care," Roashan recently told Forbes.
Pushing the trend is the idea that it is less expensive to manage patient populations at home rather than at a hospital. To that end, patient-centered care will naturally move toward telemedicine, according to Jay Sanders, M.D., former president of the American Telemedicine Association.
"What the present technology affords the physician is an ability to better evaluate their patient in the patient setting, not in the doctor setting," Sanders said in a recent interview with EHRIntelligence.
There are hurdles, however, including reimbursement issues, state regulations, and licensing that prevents physicians from practicing across state lines. Nonetheless, CMS announced changes to Medicare's 2014 physician fee schedule to expand coverage for telehealth services and 64 organizations and business have affiliated with the TELEhealth for MEDIcare (TELE-MED) Act of 2013, which would allow Medicare providers to use telehealth technology to treat patients across state lines without obtaining multiple medical licenses.
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, according to a Frost & Sullivan report published in February based on a survey from the American Telemedicine Association's 2013 annual meeting.