5 challenges hindering telehealth market growth

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While telehealth offers a solution to support patients between physician visits, a few key challenges stand in the way of significant market growth, according to a report from market research firm Chilmark Research.

For the report, Chilmark Research assessed the market outlook for telehealth, along with popular vendors in the field. Its report focuses on what it describes as a largely untapped market, engaging patients between care episodes, such as through remote monitoring.

Here are five challenges associated with using telehealth between hospital visits, according to Chilmark Research:

1. Data integration, for example, ensuring data from telehealth visits can be included in a patient's medical record.

2. Competition, on account of retail health and urgent care clinics offering similar low-cost healthcare services.

3. Patient preference, insofar as patients still prefer in-person exams over virtual visits, partially because of concerns related to privacy, technological literacy and data governance. Patients also tend to prefer telehealth visits with physicians they know and have established relationships with.

4. Licensure, since an absence of a national licensure standard leaves physicians with a "patchwork" state-by-state licensing process.

5. Reimbursement, as not all insurers and employers cover telehealth visits. However, more insurers recently have started to cover telehealth visits at rates comparable to in-person visits.

"Whether the market reaches its potential for telehealth technology adoption will depend on the ability of stakeholders to position telehealth as a complement to care, not a direct competitor, and to position growth strategies accordingly," the report concludes. "Telehealth will not serve all healthcare use cases, and it will not serve all patient populations, but mounting evidence suggests that it can support care beyond the hospital."

To download Chilmark Research's report, click here.

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