The global telemedicine market is anticipated to register a high CAGR of approximately 18.5% during the forecast period (2018-2023).
In 2016, Medicare paid a total of USD 28.75 million for telehealth services, spread across a total of 496,396 claims. This includes payments to distant site providers and originating site payments. In the previous year, the same expense amounted to USD 22.45 million, spread across a total of 372,518 claims. Overall, 2016 saw a 33% increase, in the number of Medicare telehealth claims submitted, and a 28% increase in total payments. This uptick in total payments is not attributable to fee schedule rate increases, but rather to more providers using telehealth services with their traditional Medicare FFS beneficiaries. Consequently, the growing rate of Medicare reimbursement for telehealth services is fueling the growth of the global telemedicine market.
Additionally factors, like increasing prevalence of chronic diseases and innovation in communication technology is driving the growth of global telemedicine market.
When communicating with patients through telehealth, there are risks that the telehealth encounter itself could result in a privacy or security law violations. Because these interactions, by definition, involve communications with patients who are not physically present, there is a heightened risk of disclosing information to the wrong person (i.e. somebody who is not the patient), which would likely be an unauthorized disclosure under the HIPAA Privacy Rule. To minimize this risk, telehealth providers should have in place reliable methods for verifying and authenticating the identities of the patient and practitioner(s) at the beginning of each telehealth encounter. In the current market, there is a lack of such reliable methods for authentication purposes. Telehealth encounters may also be vulnerable to third party interference, signal errors, or transmission outages. These types of incidents can result in the loss of data, interrupted communications, or the alteration of important clinical information, which, in addition to other liability risks, could lead to HIPAA privacy and security violations. As such, the current state of telemedicine is quite vulnerable from a privacy/security attack perspective. This shortcoming prevents many potential patients from undergoing telemedicine-based treatments due to privacy breach apprehensions.
Additionally, factors, like lack of inter-operability between e-Health solutions, and fragmented legal frameworks, including lack of reimbursement schemes for e-Health services, is limiting the growth of the global telemedicine market.
The North America region has been the progenitor in the field of telemedicine. The beginning of telemedicine in United States, dates back to 1950-60s, when first tele psychiatry service was provided in Omaha. In the current market, more than 50% of global market revenue is generated by US-based players and other players based in North America. The reimbursement policies although far from perfect, are still more conducive for telemedicine market growth in this region when compared with other geographies of the world.
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