With the increasing use of innovative technologies in the health care sector, the global telemedicine market value is set to grow significantly. The concept of remote patient monitoring is gaining traction widely among medical professionals and patients because of the convenience it provides for diagnosis and treatment.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, there was a significant increase in demand for telemedicine solutions due to patient cancellations of in-person appointments during the rapid spread of the virus. Around the world, hospitals and clinics switched to videoconferencing for appointments to discuss diagnosis and treatment options with patients with non-serious cases. According to a report by the Department of Health and Human Services, the number of medical visits made through telehealth increased from 840,000 in 2019 to 52.7 million in 2020,1 Which was a 63-fold increase.
Government initiatives in emerging countries have also played an important role in improving public awareness of telemedicine internationally. For example, in August 2021, the Indian government announced plans to launch a special incentive scheme that would support around 75 startups involved in areas such as digital health, telemedicine and artificial intelligence (AI).2 This initiative will encourage these companies to intensify their research and development to meet various healthcare challenges like the COVID-19 pandemic.
Rising mental health concerns fuel telemedicine demand
While the COVID-19 pandemic brought its own set of physical health challenges, mental health issues also emerged during this period. The sudden isolation and loss of social interaction took a toll on the mental health of people globally.
According to the World Health Organization, in 2020 alone, there was a 25% increase in cases of anxiety and depression during the pandemic.3 With women and youth at higher risk of being diagnosed with some sort of mental illness, the importance of telemedicine increased substantially.
In addition, technologies such as virtual counseling among mental health patients are gaining momentum because they are easily accessible and offer greater privacy. For example, Houston-based AccessHealth had to tailor its telemedicine solutions during the pandemic to address and treat more and more mental health disorders because of the growing need for such resources.4
Teleconsulting Services Continue to Gain Traction
Teleconsultation services will capture a large share of the global telemedicine market in the future as it helps elderly patients avoid the need to visit hospitals or clinics in person, significantly reducing their risk of infection. Currently, a significant portion of the world’s aging population is skeptical about the safety of visiting hospitals and clinics in person due to the fear of contracting life-threatening infections on site.
Additionally, these fears are not unfounded as reports of geriatric patients leaving the hospital show that many feel weaker and more vulnerable to illness than they did when they first arrived.5 Due to these concerns, there has been an increase in the adoption of teleconsultation solutions among elderly patients as they are able to receive their diagnosis and treatment from the comfort and safety of their own homes without the fear of contracting an additional health problem during in-person travel. Huh.
Government Initiatives to Promote Telemedicine
Many governments are realizing the importance and benefits of opting for telemedicine services within health care and have chosen to invest in the sustainable future of these technologies by promoting and supporting these technologies across the country. Such investments not only benefit the health care sector by improving the quality of care, but it also creates job opportunities in companies that are developing and operating online medical service technologies.
For example, healthcare AI is receiving abundant investments from public and private sector companies to promote research and development of more robust services and technologies, which will lead to further growth and job opportunities in the sector.
Additionally, the Malta government in November 2021 offered funding to Interpurple Technologies, an IT startup based in Kerala, India, for the development of its AI-powered healthcare software FelixCare.6 With this increasing integration of telemedicine technologies into the healthcare sector, companies are working to meet the strong demand for these services among patients internationally.
increasing incidence of neurological diseases
The prevalence of neurological diseases is increasing at an alarming rate every year. According to a report by the World Federation of Neurology, approximately 14% of the US population suffers from some form of non-communicable neurological disease, which is projected to triple by 2050.7
According to findings published by telemedicine solutions provider Chiron Health, about 40% of follow-up care for neurological diseases can be delivered via video-based telehealth.8 Virtual follow-up and counseling may increase the convenience of patients suffering from movement disorders such as Parkinson’s disease.
Latin America Telemedicine Industry Growth
The size of Latin America’s telemedicine industry is set to expand at an impressive rate in the coming years. The sector is witnessing a huge increase in telemedicine appointments. While the overall health care infrastructure across the region is still in its infancy, telehealth solutions have huge potential for growth.
In addition, Chile and Uruguay could be poised to become 2 of the leading providers of telemedicine technologies internationally, with Colombia serving as an example due to the high success rate of telehealth solutions. In the first half of 2020, Colombia held more than 9 million telemedicine appointments, leading to a more than 7000% increase in virtual appointments compared to the previous year.9
Expansion of medical tourism sector
Medical tourism activities have shown positive growth in recent years. Many health care companies and governments alike are creating opportunities for patients to receive high-quality treatment from overseas.
As the COVID-19 pandemic restrictions made it almost impossible for patients to go abroad for treatment, they had to turn to virtual medical platforms for their diagnosis and consultation. Telemedicine provides deferred telehealth solutions, in which a patient can send their medical data to physicians in the form of photographs via email or a web server.
This helps the physician to closely review the data and create their diagnosis and treatment plan, which is electronically transferred back to the patient.10 Indian medical tourism companies have started offering telemedicine solutions to their patients in Uzbekistan, Dubai and Myanmar.1 1
The outlook for the global telemedicine market will remain positive due to increasing inclination towards virtual healthcare services. AMD Global Telemedicine, Chiron Health, Teladoc, Cerner Corporation, Honeywell International, Dokademic, Aerotel Medical Systems, and Lumed Health, among many others, are well-known industry participants. Through partnerships, mergers and acquisitions, these companies plan to gain a competitive edge. For example, e-commerce giant Amazon partnered with Teladoc to offer 24/7 virtual care services through Amazon Alexa devices.12
- American Hospital Association. ,Medicare Telehealth Visits During the Pandemic. www.aha.org Published on December 6, 2021. https://www.aha.org/news/headline/2021-12-06-hhs-reports-527-million-medicare-telehealth-visits-during-pandemic
- The Economic Times. ‘Incentive Scheme to Support 75 Telemedicine Startups’. world Wide Web. economictimes.indiatimes.com, Updated 25 August 2021. https://economictimes.indiatimes.com/tech/startups/govt-to-launch-incentive-scheme-to-support-75-startups-in-telemedicine-digital-health/articleshow/85626654.cms?from=mdr
- World Health Organization. ‘Epidemic trigger increases in cases of anxiety and depression worldwide’. www.who.int, Published on 2 March 2022.https://www.who.int/news/item/02-03-2022-covid-19-pandemic-triggers-25-increase-in-prevalence-of-anxiety-and-depression-worldwide
- Omnia Health Insights. ,The role of telemedicine in reducing the mental health burden. www.insights.omnia-health.com, Published on October 8, 2020. https://insights.omnia-health.com/hospital-management/role-telemedicine-reducing-mental-health-burden
- Anna Gorman, Kaiser Health News. ‘The older you are, the worse the hospital will be for you’. www.edition.cnn.com, Updated August 15, 2016. https://edition.cnn.com/2016/08/15/health/elderly-hospital-patients/index.html
- On Manorama (news channel). ‘Healthcare IT startups receive funding from the Government of Malta.’. www.onmanorama.com, Published on November 26, 2021. https://www.onmanorama.com/news/kerala/2021/11/26/kozhikode-based-ai-drive-healthcare-start-up-gets-funding-from-.html
- World Federation of Neurology (WFN). ‘What to know about non-communicable neurological diseases’. www.wfneurology.org, Published on September 1, 2021. https://wfneurology.org/brain-health-initiative/3-what-to-know-about-non-communicable-neurological-diseases
- Chiron. ‘Telemedicine Providers – Neurology’. www.chironhealth.com, https://chironhealth.com/telemedicine/providers/neurology/
- Fifarma. ‘A Journey through Telemedicine in Latin America’. www.fifarma.org, Published on November 13, 2020. https://fifarma.org/en/a-journey-through-telemedicine-in-latin-america/
- graphical research. ‘Latin America Telemedicine Market’. www.graphicalresearch.com, Published September 2020. https://www.graphicalresearch.com/industry-insights/1426/latin-america-telemedicine-market
- Medical tourism magazine. ‘Role of telehealth in medical tourism’. www.magazine.medicaltourism.com, https://www.magazine.medicaltourism.com/article/the-role-of-telehealth-in-medical-tourism
- Hindustan Times. ‘Medical tourism companies turn to telemedicine during COVID-19’. www.hindustantimes.com, Published on May 16, 2020. https://www.hindustantimes.com/cities/medical-tourism-companies-turn-to-telemedicine-in-wake-of-covid-19/story-YA0OpXnbjgmvZfsRoHObRP.html
- Forbes. ‘Amazon-Teladoc partnership a milestone in telemedicine’. www.forbes.com, Published on March 23, 2022. https://www.forbes.com/sites/saibala/2022/03/23/amazons-new-partnership-with-teladoc-is-a-huge-milestone-for-telemedicine/?sh=61557a9d7f18