Remote provision of health care services using 'telemedicine' will save the industry $21bn (£15bn) by 2025, rising from $11bn in 2021, a new report by Juniper Research suggests.
Teleconsultations – a service that enables patients and physicians to interact remotely – are identified in the report as a key telemedicine that will enable these savings.
Over 280 million of these consultations were performed in 2019, however, this rose to 348 million in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Juniper Research said that third party healthcare service developers will be crucial in accelerating the deployment of emerging telemedicine services, including remote patient monitoring and chatbots.
To foster the adoption of telemedicine services, the report recommends that healthcare regulatory bodies continue to deregulate telemedicine services to minimise any remaining barriers to entry for smaller healthcare providers.
“Any deregulation must ensure that patient confidentiality is not undermined,” said report author Adam Wears.
“Additionally, we recommend that innovative and emerging teleconsultation services are integrated into existing healthcare technologies, such as electronic health records, to maximise their benefits to healthcare providers."
The requirement of data protection, such as the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act in the US, is just one example of regulation that could discourage adoption amongst smaller healthcare providers.
The report also explains how savings would be restricted to developed nations where access to required devices and Internet connectivity is prevalent.
As a result, it predicts that over 80% of savings will be attributable to North America and Europe by 2025.
“While the average person will use teleconsultation services 3.6 times per year in 2025, we expect this figure to be higher in countries with universal healthcare systems and/or where teleconsultation appointments are mostly, if not fully reimbursed,” Juniper Research said in an accompanying whitepaper.
“We also predict that, for the foreseeable future, COVID-19 will continue to drive adoption of teleconsultation services among patients globally.”
Image credit: iStock
Author: Chris Seekings