Revenue in the telehealth services industry is expected to increase by an annualized 30.7 percent to $320.2 million in the next five years, including revenue growth of 23.1 percent in 2014, according to a new report from market researcher market researcher IBISWorld.
The report says telehealth services include diagnosis, treatment, assessment, monitoring, communication and education. The industry includes a wide range of information, networking and digital imaging technologies, delivered primarily in three ways: videoconferencing, which provides real-time patient-provider consultations and provider-to-provider discussions; remote patient monitoring, in which electronic devices transmit patient health information to healthcare providers; and store-and-forward technologies, which transmit digital images, such as X-rays, computerized tomography (CT) scans and video clips between primary care providers and medical specialists.
Advances in communication technology and medical technology, such as wearable self-monitoring devices and digitized medical scans, have propelled the industry forward, the report concludes. A survey earlier this year from Accenture found that more than half of the 6,000 consumers questioned were interested in buying wearable technologies such as fitness monitors for tracking physical activity and managing their personal health. Furthermore, industry growth has been supported by a healthcare system suffering from skyrocketing costs, a looming doctor shortage and an aging population susceptible to chronic disease.
“Over the next five years, the industry will continue to benefit from the demographic and structural factors affecting the healthcare industry as telehealth will emerge as a cost-effective solution to meeting the medical needs of an expanding and aging population,” IBISWorld industry analyst Stephen Morea said in a statement. In addition, existing legislation, such as the Affordable Care Act, and pending legislation will increase federal support for telehealth services, benefiting patients, healthcare providers and industry operators. Last, future innovations will likely increase the scope and availability of telehealth services, according to the report.