Telehealth Market Demand is Surging, Adopters Can Reap the Benefits

A recent survey states that 76% of patients said they would prefer a remote consultation with their doctors over an in-person meeting. Signs point to the industry maturing after an incubation period of the last decade, with investment, software development, and the formulation of best practices steadily advancing. Adding it all together, these trends can be reasonably expected to continue and the sooner providers adopt the technology the better their position when it becomes a universal norm in the healthcare field.

While 76% of patients said they would prefer teleconferencing with doctors, only about 1/3 of doctors offer this option presently. This creates a bottleneck for demand, attracting patients to those providers which offer the services, as demonstrated by a study at the University of California, Davis Children's hospital, in which a hospital outfitted with the service outperformed ones without. What is more, reimbursement issues and other legal constraints are steadily being resolved, unanimously in favor of more openness and receptiveness to the technology.

Not only will those who get behind telehealth sooner have the initial advantage (which in the tech industry often means long term high performance, just look at Microsoft) but they will also have considerable time to familiarize the technology and experiment, if they so choose, with implementations. One thing that is too often overlooked in the telemedical industry is the diverse and still unexplored ways the technology can be used.

Importantly, many of the beta bugs and rough patches that held back cruder models of telehealth in the past have been scrubbed. The times have changed, and increasingly hospitals and providers are seeing the real value of data-driven healthcare. The infrastructure, both hard and soft, technological and cultural, is swiftly falling into place.

Telehealth is increasingly looking like an inevitable logical extension of the healthcare industry and digital technology. Market demand is maturing and the technology is following suite. Telehealth is increasingly becoming a concrete everyday reality rather than an experimental idea. Providers are invited to be pioneers and acquire the technology for their practice, to put into their hands a powerful set of tools and techniques for bringing a new form of information mastery into healthcare.