By Megan Williams, contributing writer
Telecom leaders gather to discuss increase of doctor video consultations.
Parks Associates held its first Connected Health Summit: Engaging Consumers last week on September 5, 2014, in San Diego. The two-day, executive event, sponsored by ADT, Care Innovations, Lowe’s, and Z-Wave, focused on the consumer perspective of the digital health/telehealth market.
Harry Wang, director of health & mobile product research for Parks Associates, addresses some important changes in the telehealth market: “The number of doctor-patient video consultations will nearly triple from this year to the next, from 5.7 million in 2014 to over 16 million in 2015, and will exceed 130 million in 2018. The connected health markets are experiencing tremendous growth both in end-user connected devices and on the institutional side.”
The use of telemedicine solutions is fueled by more than advancements in technology. Bloomberg BNA reports that a growing number of employers are looking for ways to offer telemedicine solutions to their employees in non-emergency situations, through remote locations like the workplace. The idea is attractive to employers because it cuts back on employee time spent on doctor visits.
It’s estimated that telemedicine and telehealth could save U.S. companies upwards of $6 billion annually, through a combination of reduced healthcare costs and a cut back on time taken off for medical visits.
A Publishing Example
Boston-based Houghton Mifflin has been offering telemedicine options to its employees for just six months, but Carl Cudworth, their director of benefits, believes it’s already helped cut back on lost productivity at a rate of a half-day of per employee through employees choosing remote medical consultation over in-office visits.
The employees are using the service for routine visits that can be handled with a phone call, email, or with video conferencing. The publisher is considering adding on more advanced kiosk technology, which would be outfitted with touch screens, integrated medical devices, and video-conference capabilities.
To help your clients get over the frequently bemoaned reimbursement hurdle around telemedicine, see, “Telemedicine: A New Benefit For Your Clients.”