Telehealth Virtual Visits The New-Age House Call
- Publish Date: 2016/05/11
- Author: Frost & Sullivan
- Contact : frost.com
Outline: Virtual telehealth is proving a viable and cost-effective alternative to conventional, in-person visits.
In recent years, communications technology has begun to display the potential to alter paradigms in the connected healthcare sector. Virtual medical visits service has surfaced as a viable method of seeking medical help for certain conditions. Catalyzed by the Affordable Care Act (ACA), rising prevalence of chronic conditions and an impending physician shortage, virtual visits will potentially entrench themselves in the U.S. healthcare industry.
New analysis from Frost & Sullivan, US Telehealth Virtual Visits Market (frost.ly/c5) finds the market will accelerate and achieve a CAGR of 17.8 percent from 2015 to 2021.
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Both physicians' and patients' familiarity with desktop and mobile video services is laying a strong foundation for the use of telehealth virtual visits. Early adopters have expressed their satisfaction with these services, encouraging providers to establish additional services focused on behavioral health and other specialized therapeutic areas.
Consumers can access virtual telehealth services through everyday communication devices such as smartphones, tablets or computers, while using video platforms similar to Skype or FaceTime.
Notably, telehealth virtual visits are gaining traction among health plan providers, payers and employers for non-emergency conditions such as allergies, colds, ear aches, upper respiratory infections or dermatologic conditions. These services are also attractive to parents seeking to avoid transporting young children to an in-person visit to a pediatrician. Additionally, some services focus on providing second opinions by specialists.
"Telehealth providers are seeking to offer virtual telehealth services as an alternative to unnecessary and costly visits to emergency rooms or urgent care centers," said Frost & Sullivan Transformational Health Principal Analyst Victor Camlek. "Virtual telehealth services now have the potential to become the first point of care for medical issues capable of being addressed while the patient remains in the comfort of their homes."
Currently, Teladoc, American Well, MDLive and Doctor on Demand are the four major competitors attempting to build a virtual telehealth service on a national scale in the U.S. Each company believes that over the next five years, telehealth virtual visit services will become a preferred method of engaging a doctor or behavioral health professional. As they pursue diverse business models and strategies, their ratios of video visits to phone calls or secure messaging are vastly different.
In addition to the national scale providers, the market is also served by numerous smaller market participants focused on specific geographic areas or medical specialties. However, despite a relatively large number of competitors they have reached only a very small percent of the possible patients who fit into the parameters suitable for virtual visits. The challenge is to attract more visits through high-quality patient experience.
"Patients will likely spread awareness of telehealth and the successful medical outcomes enabled by virtual visits by interacting with friends via direct communications and social media networks," noted Camlek. "As the service is still nascent, mass marketing via broadcast media is not yet feasible; market leaders will need to take advantage of social networking and other creative outreach methods to help this service gain the visibility needed to enable it to take off."
US Telehealth Virtual Visits Market is part of the Connected Health (ww2.frost.com/research/industry/healthcare/connected-health) Growth Partnership Service program.
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