Telehealth’s Future In The Wake Of COVID-19

F.J. Thomas

Sarasota, FL (WorkersCompensation.com) – With recent rule changes from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services to accommodate telehealth capabilities in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the future could be bright for telehealth according to a recent research report from analytics company Arizton.

Telehealth Market in US – Industry Outlook and Forecast 2020-2025, indicates that telehealth services are on track to grow by 30 percent, with the video communication segment increasing by 39 percent over the next 5 years. This equates to around $1.4 billion in revenue.

Currently, around 52 percent of physician-based groups and 70 percent of hospitals are offering some form of telehealth services to patients. In fact, according to the Arizton report, telehealth accounted for 40 percent of the market share of the revenue generating segment that was reviewed.

Aside from a reaction to the pandemic, it seems there are several other factors driving telehealth growth. More familiarity and general overall acceptance of technology by patients and healthcare has fueled the use for electronically driven healthcare. Revenue is also a key factor as more payers have expanded their payment policies and reimbursement for telehealth, making the telehealth option a viable means of revenue.

Additionally, there has been a growing demand for remote patient monitoring, especially in light of the need for tracking outcomes. The biggest demand has been for patients with chronic diseases such as respiratory diseases, cardiovascular, and diabetes. In fact, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevent has been advocating for telehealth as far back as 2014, citing a 15 to 56 percent decrease in mortality rates in patients that were followed via telehealth means in comparison to usual methods.

According to InTouch Health, 40 percent of the population, around 157 million, has some type of chronic disease. Patients with chronic diseases are among those at high risk to COVID-19, and also require the closest monitoring. Telehealth allows a way to monitor those patients without putting them at further risk of contracting the virus. Through telemedicine, those high-risk patients have greater access to the specialized care they need.

Another benefit of monitoring patients through telehealth is being able to closely monitor the lifestyle habits and any changes that may need to take place. Additionally, providers can triage new symptoms in real time instead of having to wait until patients can get an appointment. Another advantage is fewer readmissions. Chronic diseases account for 81 percent readmissions, which are typically more expensive.

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