‘Deconstructing the Telehealth Industry’ positively, focusing on ‘virtual care’ of older adults

A Big Study must-read. Just published is healthcare-specialized investment banking firm Ziegler’s 28-page update on their 2016 survey of the telehealth industry. Unlike some industry observers who believe that health tech has been ‘next year’s Big Thing’ far too long, with unproven effectiveness and savings, Ziegler believes it’s about to substantially ramp up in investment spending and tech integration.

The study looks forward and goes deeply into the markets. In their view, “We believe the next generation of successful virtual care companies will be those who understand the critical marriage between chronic care management, behavioral health, and social determinants.” Their focus is on the aging (50+) population and their higher risk for developing chronic conditions and the 50 percent/5 percent spread (50 percent of the spending is generated by 5 percent of the population). Their picture is that virtual care will ‘meet patients where they are’ in their daily lives.

The study sees trend confirmation in the adoption of virtual care by health systems (the widest–telestroke and tele-ICU), low-acuity care, and 2019 expansion of Federal reimbursement in Medicare Advantage Plan B with ACOs having more flexibility in telehealth-supported services. Ziegler promotes a change in terminology–‘virtual care’ as the ‘naturally integrated tool used to streamline the complex healthcare ecosystem.” Another difference: they place virtual care in the ‘smart aging continuum’ including its effect on decision makers, payers, care options, aging in place, and residential care.

A strong reference paper our Readers will be referring to for months to come. Deconstructing the Telehealth Industry, Part II (option for printable and viewable PDFs).

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  1. Dr N Robinson

    the interesting thing is what happens to patients who have easier access.

    this paper on Virtual/ Remote care suggests that improved access increases demand!


    Evidence of increased utilization over time: As shown on the right,
    members who have had access to Teladoc for longer periods of time
    use the solution more frequently than those who recently joined: the
    utilization rate for users onboarded in 2013/2014 is nearly twice as high
    as for the recently onboarded 2016 cohort. This virtual care model,
    therefore, is not just a “flash-in-the-pan” offering but a product that gains
    momentum over time.

    This is the sting in the tail for funders of Babylon etc!!

    Access breeds Excess!!

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