By Christine Kern, contributing writer
Despite promise, challenges still impeded the widespread implementation of telehealth.
Telehealth could be the answer to reducing healthcare costs while simultaneously delivering medical services to underserved or rural communities, according to GBI research. And yet, despite the fact widespread adoption could result in savings of more than $6 billion in the U.S. alone, telehealth is still impeded by a number of significant challenges.
In the report, Telehealth: Global Market Trends, Regulatory Landscape and Operational Strategies, GBI found telehealth is growing thanks to advancements in mobile technology and applications, as well as interest in cost-effective healthcare and rising populations.
Co-author Rishikesh Mandilwar says, “Telehealth could achieve such substantial savings for a number of reasons, including the reduction of re-admissions linked to chronic conditions through mobile health monitoring technologies, a decrease in unnecessary use of emergency appointments through remote visits with nurses, and a lower amount of wasted capacity through telemedicine-based appointments.”
The report states, “The analysis shows that successful telehealth programs will tend to implement careful and detailed planning, considering all key stakeholders and available engagement channels while integrating appropriate services across them.” The study also outlines important operational strategies to consider when planning and implementing a new telehealth program.
Significant challenges still block the widespread implementation of telehealth, according to co-authors Mandilwar and Rodrigo Gutierrez Gamboa, managing analysts at GBI Research. Among the chief obstacles are concerns about data security and privacy and a lack of IT expertise in some of the developing economies that could benefit the most.
Gamboa explains, “Data security concerns and privacy issues, as well as a lack of IT literacy in some developing economies, are some of the major issues currently hindering growth in the market. Despite this, there is a wealth of opportunities to be exploited in the market. If telehealth providers are to realize these opportunities, they will have to develop compelling commercial models that seamlessly place their services within a wider system of integrated healthcare. Currently, the telemedicine and mobile health segments of the market are the ones to focus on, as they are some of the most promising and fast-growing across the board.”
Current telehealth industry leaders include 3M, Aerotel Medical Systems, AMD Global Telemedicine, CardioComm, Honeywell HomMed, and Philips Healthcare.