A convergence of trends — health care reform, a shortage of physicians and advances in technology — will result in the rapid growth of telehealth starting this year, according to researchers.
A new report from IHS, a research and analytics company, predicts telehealth — a catch-all term describing doctors and other providers diagnosing, treating and monitoring patients remotely using computers, video and other technology — will grow eightfold in the U.S. over the next five years, from about $240 million this year to $1.9 billion in 2018.
Internationally, telehealth will grow about 18.5% per year over the next five years according to a report, “Global Telemedicine Market Outlook to 2018,” from RNCOS, a business consultancy company.
Legislators in Washington and Sacramento have responded.
U.S. Reps. Doris Matsui (D-Calif.) and Bill Johnson (R-Ohio) introduced a bill in Congress to establish a federal definition of telehealth and help states figure out how to regulate the new technology.
The Telehealth Modernization Act of 2013 (HR 3750) and two companion bills — HR 3077 by Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.) and HR 3306 by Rep. Gregg Harper (R-Miss.) — are designed to “provide guidance to states as they look to utilize telehealth technologies in the safest, most secure manner possible,” according to proponents.
California may be ahead of the national curve. More than two years ago, Gov. Jerry Brown (D) signed “The Telehealth Advancement Act of 2011” (AB 415) by Assembly member Dan Logue (R-Linda), but according to market predictions the curve is about to get much sharper very quickly.
We asked stakeholders and experts if California’s telehealth policy on the right path and moving fast enough to keep up with the kind of rapid growth predicted.
We got responses from: