Between the "graying of America," the busy schedules of families these days, and the sudden pivot to virtual healthcare during the coronavirus pandemic, the telemedicine industry has surged.
Telemedicine connects patients with healthcare providers using secure telecommunications technology. Physicians are able to diagnose, treat and monitor patients remotely. An estimated 7 million people used telehealth services in 2018. Telehealth is projected to be a $266.8 billion by 2026, according to market research firm Fortune Business Insights.
If you're interested in starting a business in the growing telemedicine industry, this guide will help you get started.
Telehealth as an industry
You may be surprised to learn that telemedicine has been around for more than 40 years. Prior to the spread of COVID-19 in the United States, telemedicine granted people living in rural communities improved access to primary care physicians, specialists, and mental health professionals.
The American Telemedicine Association (ATA) estimates that there are about 200 telemedicine networks currently in operation. More than half of all the hospitals in the country now use some form of telemedicine services, and the Veterans Health Administration is using digital health services to reach more than a half a million vets each year.
At the present time, 34 states and the District of Columbia require that private insurers cover telehealth consultations the same as they would cover in-person services (though rules may be different for mental health service versus primary care or internal medicine).
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