QUICK READ: About 74% of patients in the U.S. would use telehealth services and 74% of patients are comfortable with communicating with their doctors using technology instead of seeing them in person. As social distancing becomes reality will patients embrace telehealth?
Yesterday I received an email from my doctor telling me that they are now open to virtual visits. The telehealth market is huge. The global telemedicine technologies market, including hardware, software, and services, was valued at $17.8 billion in 2014 and is predicted to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 18.4% from 2014 to 2020.
About 74% of patients are comfortable with communicating with their doctors using technology instead of seeing them in person. In addition, About 76% of patients care more about access to healthcare than the need for human interactions with their healthcare providers.
Telehealth may be moving mainstream. 91% of employers are expected to offer telemedicine by 2020, according to a First Stop Health survey of midsize to large employers. But, while the vast majority of midsize to large employers offer a telemedicine benefit, less than 2% have used the service, according to Willis Towers Watson’s 2018 Annual Changes Ahead Survey.
So what does all this mean for pharma? It may offer a wealth of opportunities but it’s going to require a lot of trials and failures to get right. A physician could, for example, use a split-screen to reference a drug site while talking to a patient or use a drug site’s information to inform patients.
Most of us are used to the routine for health here; make an appointment, see the doctor, get an Rx and fill the Rx. That can be simplified via telehealth but there are dangers. What happens if a patient has a serious condition that is misdiagnosed via telehealth? How soon will 1-800 lawyers be on that?
Telehealth is going to explode for the simple reason U.S. employers could save up to $6 billion per year by providing telemedicine technologies to their employees. Telehealth can take costs out of healthcare and we desperately need to remove costs from our bloated healthcare.
If pharma wants to leverage telehealth they need to start providing more information and sell less.