IDC report: Lack of reimbursement holding back healthcare videoconferencing

Just 4.6 percent of patients surveyed by research and publishing firm IDC say they have received medical care via videoconferencing. For those 65 and older--people most likely to need care for chronic conditions--the rate is a minuscule 0.8 percent.

"People who are 35 and younger are much more likely to have tried videoconferencing for medical care and as the technology becomes more pervasive there's going to be a generation that is much more comfortable getting their care delivered virtually," Irene Berlinsky, co-author of the yet-unreleased IDC report, says, according to Information Week.

But there's another factor holding back wider adoption of remote audio-video consultations: money. (Go figure!) "Adoption of telemedicine is strongly dependent on reimbursements so it's not price point per se. Where it's going to be really important for telemedicine to take off is if it starts being reimbursed," Berlinsky says. IDC says it will take collaboration among healthcare providers, technology vendors, telecommunications services and insurance companies to find a reimbursement model that works for all parties.

One company interested in solving this conundrum is computer-maker Dell. "We are looking at it and we are doing a lot of things around thinking about different modes of delivering healthcare to patients, but I would say we are not probably driving very much into the telepresence space yet because we don't think the market is there yet," says Jamie Coffin, Dell's VP of healthcare and life sciences.

For more details:
- read this Information Week story