Telehealth: By the Numbers

In the 1920s, radios were used to communicate medical advice to clinics on ships. Thirty years later, two Pennsylvania physicians exchanged radiologic images through telephone lines. A little more than 20 years ago, the University of Alaska Anchorage and the Alaska Native Health Board created the Village Telemedicine Project to provide telemedicine equipment to four regional hospitals and 20 village clinics to benefit Alaska Native people.

These are only a few examples of the early uses of telemedicine and telehealth. Fast forward to 2020 and the COVID-19 pandemic, and these technologies have been employed by almost half of healthcare consumers in the United States. Though this number will probably decrease when the novel coronavirus finally abates, more than three-fourths of Americans report that they’re highly or moderately likely to use telehealth in the future.

If you think telehealth use is only a fleeting trend, we have some statistics that might surprise you. For example, tele-visits have doubled in use since 2016, and Frost & Sullivan forecasts a sevenfold growth in telehealth by 2025. By 2026, the global telehealth market size is projected to reach $266.8 billion. Read on for more numerical proof of the technology’s sustainability. 

Exponential Expansion

Telehealth has made an unquestionable impact during the COVID-19 pandemic. In fact, many healthcare providers are reporting 50-175 times the number of telehealth visits pre-COVID-19.

Provider Perks

In addition to boosting practice efficiency and revenue and enhancing patient engagement, telehealth allows physicians and other clinicians to limit no-shows and reduce unnecessary patient admissions and transfers. Perhaps that’s why more and more providers are using it.

Satisfied Patients

The U.S. spends more money on healthcare (~$3.6 trillion) than any other developed nation. In most states, healthcare costs are growing faster than median income. Telehealth increases affordability for patients while also improving access to care, especially for residents of rural areas. Plus, most who have tried it have reported positive results.

Curtailed Costs

Remember that $3.6 trillion in healthcare spending we just mentioned? Implementing telehealth initiatives might not cut it in half, but it could make a measurable difference.

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