According to a report by BCC Research, telemedicine is expected to become a $43 Billion dollar market by 2019. This tremendous growth rate is due to the surging demand for telehome services, which includes home monitoring services. The telehome category is expected to grow to 24 Billion by 2019.
This huge growth in telemedicine will be driven primarily by a demand for convenience. Rather than driving to your doctor’s office and waiting to be seen, many people want to be seen by their doctor via an online module that can make the process more streamlined. Before marketing telemedicine as a practical medical practice model, however, there are important legal, privacy, and logistical issues that need to be addressed.
First, telemedicine must be more than a Skype conversation between a patient and a doctor. There must be additional security measures in place to maintain patient privacy.
The second key issue to marketing the model is reimbursement. How will doctors be reimbursed for their time answering emails, logging video conferences, and performing exams online? Right now, few insurers have codes to cover these services, which means that doctors can’t bill for their time. Until payers find a way to reimburse doctors for their time for telemedicine transactions, it will be hard for this category to grow.
The third important issue is maintaining physician practice standards and licensure for telemedicine in every state. How will you know if the doctor you are visiting virtually is actually a licensed doctor? The opportunity for scam artists and other con men to say they are licensed medical doctors is greater when there is little oversight for maintaining proper physician standards in a telemedicine model.
Fortunately, in the past few weeks state law and policymakers have been suggesting new legislation to improve access to care via telemedicine. While these issues are being ironed out, medical practices should begin developing a plan to integrate telemedicine into their medical services portfolio and then develop a telemedicine marketing plan. Quaintise can assist you with your telemedicine marketing strategy. Give us a call today to learn more at 310-651-9921 or visit us at www.quaintise.com.