Telehealth activity is growing apace, according to a new report from InMedica, a division of IMS Research (now a part of the Douglas County, Colo.-based IHS Inc.) Indeed, InMedica researchers found, telehealth activity in the United States might have advanced even faster had there not been uncertainty around the fate of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) through much of 2012.
Nonetheless, from 2010 to 2011, usage of remote patient monitoring, or telehealth, increased by 22.2 percent, as the number of patients enrolled worldwide reached 241,200. At the same time, though, telehealth device revenues only grew by 5 percent from 2010 to 2011, and 18 percent from 2011 to 2012. Researchers attributed slow revenue growth over the last year to poor economic conditions leading to restrictions in healthcare funding particularly in Europe, and ambiguity over the impact of healthcare reform and readmission penalties in the U.S.
Shane Walker, co-author of the recently released InMedica study, “Telehealth—An Analysis of Demand Dynamics—2012 Edition,”said that, “Despite criticism of healthcare reform, it is clear that the long-term goals of the CMS [Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services] are to move toward greater continuity of care while reducing costs through the avoidance of unnecessary duplication of services.”
Telehealth is projected to be increasingly incorporated into post-acute care strategies beginning this year; it is listed in the U.S. by CMS as one of 13 possible models to reduce readmissions. In addition, as a large number of patients enter the insurance pool, healthcare payers are projected to adopt telehealth as a population management tool to reduce inpatient care costs. As a result, InMedica researchers are forecasting that in 2013, the telehealth market will grow by 55 percent worldwide, in terms of device and service revenues.