Nearly 50 percent of physician offices and almost 60 percent of hospitals responding to a survey from HIMSS Analytics indicate they are unsure if their organizations plan to implement a telemedicine solution within the next 24 months.

Of those physician offices and hospitals with specific investment plans, two-way video and webcam products are the most common telemedicine solutions providers are considering, according to results of the survey. Based on data from the HIMSS Analytics database and a web survey of more than 400 respondents, the study profiles the utilization of telemedicine products/services in U.S. healthcare organizations.

Key findings of the study include: 

*Approximately 46 percent of respondents utilize up to four telemedicine solutions within their organization.

*Two-way video/webcam is the most widely used telemedicine solution (57.8 percent) and most widely considered (67.1 percent) for those making a telemedicine investment.

“While the data clearly suggests telemedicine is a growing market attractive to vendors, the market penetration data points to a challenge facing this industry; appropriately ‘defining’ telemedicine,” according to HIMSS Analytics. “The term telemedicine is recognized by the survey participants to envelope a wide and divergent array of solutions. As a result, no one product/service emerges as a dominant telemedicine solution and a provider’s telemedicine portfolio varies by the type of organization (hospital versus physician office).”

Hospital respondents tend to value telemedicine solutions because of the ability to address current clinician deficiencies. And, physician office respondents tend to view telemedicine as a means by which to enhance physician productivity.

Nevertheless, although the historical growth trajectory of telemedicine utilization strongly suggests the market poised to continue implementing these types of products and services, the study concludes that there appears to be a degree of uncertainty regarding specific purchase intentions.

“Regardless of these challenges, organizations will continue to look for and utilize technology to fill gaps and enhance initiatives in patient care,” said Brendan FitzGerald, research director for HIMSS Analytics. As a result, the findings of the study “paint a positive view of the U.S. telemedicine market,” states the report.

A complimentary copy of the 2014 U.S. Telemedicine Study overview is available here.  To request a copy of the study from HIMSS Analytics, send email to consulting@himssanalytics.org.

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