Telehealth Skyrocketing to 158 Million Sessions Per Year by 2020

Many studies have projected the enormous growth in store for telehealth in the coming years, and these video conferencing sessions taking place in people’s homes and similar settings will represent the majority of usage within four years, says a new report.

Telehealth video consultations will increase from 19.7 million in 2014 to 158.4 million per year by 2020, according to the report from Tractica, an independent research and consulting firm.

While clinical consultations currently represent more than three-quarters of the market, Tractica finds growth over the next several years will be especially strong in non-clinical settings, including within patients’ homes.

Specifically, the market intelligence firm forecasts that these non-clinical telehealth consultations will outnumber those in clinical settings by 2019. 

“The flexibility and efficiency of video conferencing is helping health care providers and payers to achieve tangible value in deploying video-based patient monitoring solutions, both in terms of positive patient outcomes and cost savings,” said Tractica Principal Analyst Charul Vyas in a written statement.

The market still faces a variety of challenges, Vyas says, including the high initial cost of deploying services, inconsistent reimbursement models for telehealth consultations, and continuing resistance by physicians, patients and regulators.

Access to telehealth has tripled over the past three years, with more physicians now offering this service than ever before—8% in 2012 to 24% in 2015, according to an April survey by Accenture.

But despite its increasing popularity, doctors are skeptical that telehealth, among other health care technologies, has improved treatment decisions.

As the nation’s aging population grows at the pace of 10,000 Baby Boomers turning age-65 each day that countless studies have forecasted, telehealth adoption shows no signs of slowing down any time soon. 

Written by Jason Oliva