The telehealth market is immature and volatile, but is rich with potential, report finds
Providing increased accessibility and eradicating potential delays in healthcare services, telehealth is rising in prominence on an international scale and boosting patient satisfaction. Its impact in the US is becoming one of interest, where Sage & Partners report, Making the Connection: Is the telehealth market ripe for a boom? looks this exponential growth.
A market research report by Technavio on the global telemedicine market has predicted a CAGR of over 19% during 2018-2022. IBIS has also placed at CAGR of up to 39.9% for the next five years, putting the market at a value of up to $3.5bn by 2020, the report has stated.
Such figures surpass other healthcare markets, even that of healthcare IT and healthcare analytics. This growth has also led the US to establish up to 150 different features of telehealth legislation in 2016 across 44 states.
Upon becoming the President of the United States of America in 2017, Trump has accelerated the ongoing disruption of the healthcare market amongst heightening concerns to dismantle Obamacare, an essential support for those with complex healthcare needs.
Despite this, the implementation of new digital tools has enabled the healthcare to become increasingly patient centered, where payers and providers are beginning to consolidate and work together to deliver increased choice and flexibility more than ever before.
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Population growth has also seen an increased need for services outside of traditional settings, where demand for homecare and new solutions will support those who wish to maintain independence. This has traditionally proved problematic for those in rural locations where services remain limited, but the market is now looking to cater to this growing market through telehealth, whilst looking at further ways to reduce costs.
“According to the American Medical Association and Wellness Council of America, nearly 75% of doctor, urgent care, and ER visits “are either unnecessary or could be handled safely and effectively over the phone or video,” the report explains.
“Rising healthcare costs that put pressure on providers, payers, and consumers could be alleviated by effective telehealth.”
However, challenges remain with regards to who will ultimately become advantaged financially from the use of telehealth solutions, whether it will be the payer or the provider of care, but the demand for telehealth solutions will lead to increased opportunities.
“There is evidence that payers are embracing cost savings with telemedicine services,” the report adds. “Payers are optimistic about the potential opportunity that telehealth brings, while at the same time waiting to see how further changes in regulatory policy can help facilitate greater adoption.”
Birdie aims to reinvent elderly care with tech
British startup Birdie has announced it has raised £8.2 million to invest in innovation and scale up the business.
The company's announcement is timely as it follows the criticism of the UK government over their lack of a plan for social care, despite acknowledging the sector is in crisis - around a quarter of the UK's home care providers are on the brink of bankruptcy due to a lack of funds and staffing.
Birdie was born with a mission to "radically improve the lives of millions of older adults", by using app-based solutions, IoT and machine learning to put preventative care at the forefront. The company was founded by Max Parmentier, after experiencing his own frustrations with the care system - his grandfather struggled with the impact of life in a care home, but lacked any other option.
In 2017 Parmentier partnered with venture builder Kamet Ventures to set up Birdie, in a bid to fix this problem. Since then, Birdie has partnered with almost 500 providers across the UK, and supports more than 20,000 older people every week. In the past 12 months alone the number of people Birdie supports has got six times greater.
Birdie’s solution is an app to help care providers deliver more coordinated, personalised and preventative care, by giving them access to digital assessments, medication scheduling and planning tools. By using digital tools to take care of admin, staff have more time to spend with their care recipients.
The new investment will be used to fund Birdie’s next phase of growth in the UK, as the company scales to meet the rapidly growing demand of the aging population. The company will also invest in product innovation, creating new features to address customer requests.
In addition, Birdie is piloting new care models, including partnering with the NHS to identify COVID-19 symptoms, building predictive pharmacy models with AI, and helping health authorities to detect early warning signs of patients’ health risks.
Internally, Birdie is committed to having a progressive company ethos. All salaries are transparent, and staff work asynchronously to maximise flexibility and equity. Staff members also volunteer in their local community during office hours, and the company offsets all its emissions.
These efforts have led to numerous awards, including having the best SME culture in the UK, an Honorable Mention in the Health category of Fast Company’s 2021 World Changing Ideas Awards, and innovation in care at the LangBuisson awards.
“We believe the future of care for older people should be helping them to live at home for as long as possible through the delivery of personalised and preventative care" Parmentier said.
"Birdie is already the partner of choice for caregivers up and down the UK, and this new funding will help us rapidly increase the number we partner with and what we can offer them - meaning more people benefiting from more affordable, quality care. We’re proud of our mission and the values we embody to pursue it.”