Telehealth has been getting a lot of attention in the last couple years. And it’s no wonder, considering some experts project the industry to be worth $34 billion by 2020. Last year alone, legislators introduced over 200 telehealth-related bills and passed key policy to help expand coverage and support for telehealth.
So where will telehealth go in 2016? What changes will we see in 2016 compared to the last couple years? Will the telehealth industry follow the predictions of exponential growth?
We rounded up a few of our executive team members, including CEO Bret Larsen and practicing ER doctors Dr. Glen McCracken and Dr. Scott Orava, and asked what they thought we’d see in 2016.
Dr. Scott Orava, CMO
Everything is going mobile. We’ve been hearing that for awhile, but as a doctor, I’m actually starting to see it in practice. I think patients are already ready for telemedicine, to start seeing their doctors from their computers, from their phones or tablets. It’s getting doctors on board too that takes a bit more time. But now that that’s happening, healthcare technology companies are catching up with the times, and doctors are seeing that it’s possible, I think it’s a short leap to providers very quickly shopping around and adding a telehealth solution to their practices.
Bret Larsen, CEO
We’re seeing patients on both ends of the age spectrum start to really shape the charge for better technology in healthcare. Millennial patients are glued to their smartphones and expect that kind of convenience, access, and connectivity in their healthcare. At the other end, our aging Baby Boomer generation is dealing with multiple chronic conditions and looking for better ways to get the care they need. I think these demographics will push telehealth to become a commonplace way to receive medical care, especially as more patients try it through retail clinics or their health insurance companies, which are rapidly expanding their telemedicine services.
Dr. Glen McCracken, President
I think the rise in telehealth this year will coincide with the rapid growth in another healthcare trend we’ve been seeing – a shift to concierge care models. Doctors are becoming increasing frustrated with the convoluted, shifting health policy, rising admin burden, clunky tech systems that aren’t built for them. It’s becoming harder and harden for providers to stay independent and really focus on practicing medicine rather than managing their practices. All this has pushed many doctors to shift to a concierge subscription or direct pay model, and avoid the headaches of dealing with the insurance companies all together. With that transition comes a shift in perspective that’s more geared towards offering adding benefits and convenience to patients who are willing to pay a little extra if it means seeing their doctor right away. Telemedicine is the key technology to make this model successful for doctors and patients.