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Global Telemedicine Market Headed For $27 Billion

BCC Research report says global demand continues to grow, while U.S. market is thriving thanks to the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.

10 Top Medical Practice Management Software Systems
10 Top Medical Practice Management Software Systems
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The global telemedicine market grew from $9.8 billion in 2010 to $11.6 billion in 2011 and will almost triple to $27.3 billion in 2016, a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 18.6% over the next five years, according to a report from BCC Research.

The report, Global Markets for Telemedicine Technologies, is based on interviews with manufacturers and users of telemedicine technologies and services, as well as from reviews of secondary sources such as company literature, conference proceedings, and related government data.

The study's findings come at a time when telemedicine is being adopted by several nations that are using the technology to close the gap in healthcare while lowering the cost of treating patients.

A deeper dive into the research shows that the telemedicine market is segmented into telehospital/clinic and telehome markets. In 2010 the telehospital/clinic market was worth $6.9 billion, and the telehome market was valued at nearly $2.9 billion. The study also found that the telehome segment is growing faster than the telehospital/clinic segment--at a projected CAGR of 22.5% vs. 16.8%--and as a result is expected to increase its share of the market from 29.4% in 2010 to 35.6% by 2016.

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The report also pointed out that the telemedicine market is segmented into technology--hardware, software, telecom, network--and service segments. The technology portion grew from $3.8 billion in 2010 to $4.6 billion in 2011 and is expected to reach $11.3 billion in 2016, with a CAGR of 19.8% over the next five years.

The market for telemedicine services increased from $5.9 billion in 2010 to $7 billion in 2011 and is expected to reach nearly $16 billion in 2016, mainly driven by growth in the telehospital service market. The study also found that the telehospital service market grew from $4.8 billion in 2010 to $5.5 billion in 2011 and could reach $10.6 billion in 2016, with a CAGR 13.9% between 2011 and 2016.

A closer look at U.S. trends suggests that telemedicine market growth has been driven by the implementation of the Obama administration's Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA), a two-year-old law that has intensified the focus on telemedicine as a way to treat an increasing number of people who will be seeking health insurance and medical services. Telemedicine technology enables healthcare personnel to meet this increasing demand without delays in treatment or rationing care, the BCC Research report concludes.

"The PPACA is a catalyst for the increased use of telemedicine," Andrew Williams, a BCC Research analyst, told InformationWeek Healthcare.

Williams noted that the law contains several provisions that could affect telemedicine. For example, the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation (CMI) has been directed to test new models of care using telemedicine to improve the care of hospitalized patients, including those in intensive care, through electronic monitoring by specialists located at other facilities. The CMI also is developing new care models that use patient-based remote monitoring systems to coordinate care over time and across settings.

In addition, the CMI is exploring the use of providers located in medically underserved areas and facilities that are part of the Indian Health Service to provide telehealth services for treating stroke and behavioral health problems such as post-traumatic stress disorder. The CMI also is studying ways to improve the capacity of non-medical providers and non-specialized medical providers to provide health services for patients with chronic conditions. Williams also noted that accountable care organizations are required to create ways to promote evidence-based medicine and patient engagement, report on quality and cost measures, and coordinate care. Among the tactics being considered: telehealth and remote patient monitoring.

The federal government's initiatives have advanced the adoption of telemedicine at hospitals, and that is reflected in BCC's research, said Williams. In the previous edition of the BCC report, many providers said they weren't sure whether telemedicine was a sound business investment, but now, "a growing number of healthcare providers appear to have become convinced of telemedicine's potential benefits," he said.

The 2012 InformationWeek Healthcare IT Priorities Survey finds that grabbing federal incentive dollars and meeting pay-for-performance mandates are the top issues facing IT execs. Find out more in the new, all-digital Time To Deliver issue of InformationWeek Healthcare. (Free registration required.)

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