According to new research from market intelligence firm Tractica, telehealth video consultation sessions will increase from 19.7 million in 2014 to 158.4 million per year by 2020.
Though clinical consultations currently account for more than three-quarters of the market, the firm predicts that growth over the next several years will be especially strong in non-clinical settings. In fact, Tractica forecasts that non-clinical video consultations will outnumber clinical consultations by 2019.
At the same time, Tractica principal analyst Charul Vyas cautons that the market still faces a variety of challenges, including the high initial cost of deploying services, inconsistent reimbursement models for telehealth consultations, and some continuing resistance by physicians, patients, and regulatory bodies.
In related news, an initial public offering on Wednesday of Dallas-based Teladocone of the largest telehealth companiesjumped 50 percent in its first day of trading on the New York Stock Exchange. RBC Capital analyst David Francis initiated coverage of Teladoc with an outperform rating, arguing that the company has the potential to revolutionize healthcare delivery with virtual medicine (VirtMed)currently a $250 million market that could grow to more than $20 billion over the next decade.
With cost pressures escalating, the economics of VirtMed alone create a significant new revenue opportunity in our view. Adding PopHealth and secondary market opportunities, we believe the VirtMed market could ultimately exceed $50 billion," according to Francis.
Analysts at investment firm Goldman Sachs also predicted this week that digital health will transform healthcare, saving the industry more than $300 billion in the near term with major growth opportunities in telehealth, allowing patients to receive medical advice virtually without having to visit a doctors office.
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