Telehealth still must overcome obstacles to reach predicted potential.
The combination of an ever-greater reach of the Internet and wireless technologies, the need to deliver health care services to isolated populations and the movement to reduce costs is pushing telehealth — health care delivered at a distance — into a more prominent role.
It’s been around in some form for many years, but it’s always been a relatively small niche in the overall health care universe. But that will soon change, according to United Kingdom-based market watcher InMedica, which predicts a more than $1 billion worldwide market for telehealth by 2016, which could jump to $6 billion by the end of the decade.
Home monitoring of patients, particularly to manage chronic diseases such as hypertension, diabetes and congestive heart failure, is one big reason underlying this expansion, said Diane Wilkinson, research manager at InMedica.
“Many public health care systems now have targets to reduce both the number of hospital visits and the length of stay in hospital,” Wilkinson said. “This has led to a growing trend for health care to be managed outside the traditional hospital environment, and as a result, there is a growing trend for patients to be monitored in their home environment using telehealth technologies once their treatment is complete.”
There have been some large-scale trials in Europe and the United Kingdom, but by far, the most established market for telehealth is in the United States.
To continue reading click here