Two Upbeat Reports on Global Telemedicine

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Telemedicine has recently been featured in two different news outlets, the Economist and Healthcare Matters. This added attention suggests that the public is beginning to wake up to telemedicine’s potential.

According to the Economist: “Telemedicine is more than a Skype chat between doctor and patient, says Michael Young, who works on remote care for the University of North Carolina. The technology can look similar but the need for security and privacy is greater.”

Taking an international perspective, the Economist gives a useful primer on telemedicine’s legal status in the United States, including the patchwork of parity laws. It’s interesting to note that the European Union has a head start on adopting telemedicine: EU-member “countries may not pass laws that would stop doctors practising telemedicine, and doctors need only be licensed in one country to practise in all.” The article also points out that the US is falling behind a few small countries like Israel, whose “health-care system is fully digitized: all doctors use electronic medical records, and patients have access to their data.”

Meanwhile, Healthcare Matters features a report that says the global market for telehealth services at home is “surging” at a 24 percent annual rate of growth. “The telehome category,” they write, “the largest and fastest growing segment of the market, is forecast to jump from just $6.5 billion in 2013 to nearly $24 billion in 2019.”

These are strong forecasts, and even more good news for the future of telemedicine around the world.

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