It’s no doubt that the word “telehealth” encompasses many different methods of care. The concept itself has gained awareness recently, but actual telehealth services, like medical providers answering patients’ questions over the phone, or doctors exchanging emails with one another regarding patient treatments, have been utilized for years. With the rise of technology and internet-based services, people are beginning to take advantage of the benefits that telehealth provides. In fact, new study statistics show that the number of telehealth visits is projected to grow from 350,000 in 2013 to 7 million in 2018. Moreover, the worldwide revenue for these services is also expected to reach $4.5 billion.
[caption id="attachment_3093" align="alignright" width="382"] Source: IHS Technology, January 2014[/caption]
This “boom” in telehealth comes at a time when we have an aging population, rising healthcare costs, and increased prevalence of chronic diseases. In order to combat these issues, telehealth will help lower healthcare costs while providing higher quality of care to patients. Additionally, while it is mostly used to treat patients individually, providers are now looking to implement “population health management,” a way to monitor the health of entire populations, to reduce the prevalence of chronic diseases. Providers use telehealth to deliver ongoing contact and second opinion consultations to patients with conditions such as cardiovascular disease and diabetes. Hopefully, telehealth will continue to help in preventative care, as well as improve the overall health of the world’s population throughout 2018 and beyond.