Telemedicine has been discussed at length for quite some time now. It has become more widely adapted among health institutions and the expansion and growth of it continues on. It is expected that the global telemedicine market will expand at a compound annual growth rate of 14.3% through 2020. Some of the benefits of telemedicine are patients who are hard to reach who may require assistance with physical and occupational therapy after orthopedic and cardiac surgery and stroke, can now receive the medical attention they need. Telemedicine can potentially provide mental health consultation services, and diagnostic and treatment advice from experts and major medical centers to small rural hospitals. All improving care and making better care and care coordination available to those who are limited physically or by distance.
Some of the factors that are driving the continued growth of telemedicine are expanding reimbursement and payment opportunities, creation of an international network of academic medical centers in the U.S with overseas medical institutions, state governments passing legislation that requires insurances to cover telemedicine, a rise in retail clinics and employer onsite health centers, and more ACOs using technology to improve care and cut costs.
The benefits to patients is already apparent and with continued growth in telemedicine it will become more widely and easily available, reimbursements will continue to expand allowing providers/facilities to implement the technology and infrastructure needed to support telemedicine, and further enhancements in health care will be made building on this base.