Already a multibillion-dollar industry, telemedicine’s value is projected to jump fivefold in nine years.
The report cites a number of factors driving this growth: a worldwide shortage of healthcare workers, innovations in Internet of Things technology, rising demand for remote health and increased use of smartphones.
Emergen contends the software segment of the telemedicine sector will see the fastest growth in revenue over the next nine years, while the services segment will be the largest contributor of revenue overall.
The company also says the telehome segment will see a jump in revenue during the same period, thanks in part to an aging population, “as telehome services offer a convenient way for older adults, who are often managing chronic illnesses, to access healthcare from the comfort of their homes.”
As PYMNTS wrote earlier this year, telemedicine was first popularized as an alternative to in-person care during the pandemic, but has since become a fixture for patients.
The steady rate of consumers participating in at least monthly telemedicine appointments since January 2022 was recorded in proprietary research prepared for the PYMNTS’ April “ConnectedEconomy™ Monthly Report.”
Patient participation in telehealth in this time period ranges between around 30% and 40%, not far below the roughly 50% share seen with monthly in-person visits. Both figures remained relatively stable during 2022 and 2023, although telehealth had trended up and physical visits had scaled down more recently.
“As this popularity might suggest, telemedicine has turned out to be a profitable venture for participating businesses. UnitedHealthcare and its Optum unit saw particular growth last year in its home health offerings and is on track to serve 4 million patients in 2023, nearly double that in 2021,” PYMNTS wrote.
Meanwhile, recent weeks have seen some retailers embrace virtual health, such as GNC.
In an interview with PYMNTS, Allison Bentley, senior director of strategic programs at GNC Health, discussed the rationale behind this move.
“After years of research, it was clear how necessary supplemental virtual healthcare is for many consumers,” Bentley said. “We know the U.S. healthcare system can be difficult to navigate, especially when dealing with high reliance on private insurance, and the need to see different specialists, who have more and more limited appointment availability, which makes the process even more complex. We took that into account and wanted to address it by offering an accessible and affordable solution for consumers across the nation.”