‘Explosive growth’ for telehealth and telecare at last?

This sunny summertime prediction by Ephraim Schwartz, an editor-at-large for enterprise tech publication InfoWorld, outlines five main reasons why:

  1. Healthcare is broken, and because it is, finally there’s the financial commitment from providers.
  2. The base of home telehealth devices is now fairly large at 3 million in the US so that the projection by 2018 of 10.3 million in the US and 19.1 million worldwide doesn’t look improbable (Berg Insight).
  3. Cellular and digital phone networks are now ubiquitous. The conversion of existing POTS devices which account for 70 percent of existing telehealth users is underway. Mobile is driving developers to create smartphone health apps and devices.
  4. Fueling the trend are hospital readmission reduction programs in the US looking to reduce costs, and finding that telehealth saves money, increases patient satisfaction and can improve outcomes. Hospital systems are moving into post-discharge programs as home health agencies are, surprisingly, withdrawing.
  5. Connectivity programs between devices, smartphones and tablets are finally being addressed by companies like Qualcomm and Apple (HealthKit)–and eventually enterprise software.

While agreeing in part–that there is some feeling of critical mass building for telehealth–why does it still feel like déjà vu all over again? The payer side is still socked and reeling from the ACA (and recent court decisions eliminating subsidies in many states), taking out a major source of funding , reduced funding is the major concern in the UK, and worldwide, the picture differs drastically by country. mHealthNews.

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