The Telehealth Market Reluctance Remains

This monthly blog highlights and discuss emerging trends and challenges related to healthcare data and its ever changing life cycle.


By Newelle Nielsen

 

According to Zion Market Research, an estimated $47 billion will have been invested into the telehealth market by the year 2021 by companies such as AT&T, Verizon Communications Inc., MiX Telematics Ltd., and many more. In other words, there will be an abundance of money for telehealth solutions for practices and patients.

So why then does both patient and provider usage remain so low?

While all projections lead to considerable growth in the telehealth market, physicians appear reluctant to implement virtual care into their practices. Currently, medical practices are losing patients at steep rates to both on-demand telemedicine services and urgent care clinics. One reason for this is that doctors have concerns about their ability to provide the same quality of care as they would for an office visit. Many patients also share this concern as they are anxious about being diagnosed correctly.

Changes in regulation on the federal and state level in California are removing barriers that made it difficult for doctors to get reimbursed. Telemedicine brings in incremental revenue from lowering overhead costs and keeping patients out of the office that don’t need a physical exam.

The market demand for telemedicine exists as much as 75 percent of patients are willing to try telemedicine services according to the Virtual Visits Consumers Choice Survey. However, only 20 percent ever actually experienced using telemedicine while interacting with their physician.

Ninety percent of large employers reported planning to offer telemedicine services by the end of 2017. Adopting telemedicine doesn’t have to be a hassle. The simple steps in this presentation will help you to implement video visits into your practice and train your staff in no time.

 

Newelle Nielsen is lead healthcare analyst, BI Quality Analytics.

3 Comments

  1. This answer to me is obvious: fear of patients.

    At my office we recently started using the new CPT code 93793, management for INR (“protime”) monitoring for anti-coagulation therapy. Essentially it’s like a $15 charge for the work that goes into reading a lab, making changes to medication, informing the patient on the results and changes, and documenting the information.

    It’s not a substantial amount of work, but it adds up, and it’ll be a nice little bit of revenue for work that we’ve been doing all along.

    The patients nearly rioted.

    Some refuse to do the test. Some say not to call them so they won’t get a bill. Some are saying they’ll go somewhere else. This is for a $15 charge that their insurances are likely to cover most of.

    To most patients, especially any over 50, the idea of charging for something where they are not physically in the presence of a provider being actively treated is an anathema. It’s a generational thing that will take another decade or two to pass.

    Post a Reply
    • Hi thanks for the update. Since that CPT code is typically for older patients there is still resistance to this new technology and I believe you may be accurate in your assessment that it may take more time than we think before Telehealth is an acceptable practice for the patients.

      Post a Reply

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