Telemedicine is transforming health care – and it’s here to stay.
Sure, there are challenges, including licensure: state laws governing the provision of telemedicine services differ widely. Other potential pitfalls include the fear that electronic interactions will replace vital in-person visits with physicians.
Undeniable Market Growth
The global market for telemedicine is expected to reach approximately USD 38.00 billion by 2022, up approximately $8.20 billion USD in 2016 (Zion Market Research). What’s more, The Large Employers’ 2018 Health Care Strategy and Plan Design Survey found that virtually all employers (96 percent) plan to offer telehealth services in states where it’s allowed this year simply to provide quick access to provider visits for all of their employees.
Why has it grown so much? One reason is that patients have started paying far more of their doctor bill from their own pocket, and that, says Leah Binder, a contributor at Forbes magazine, makes them more of a consumer. She writes: “People want to be able to consult physicians—and nurses—via ubiquitous communication technology like teleconferencing and email. The best example of the emerging new influence of the health care patient as consumer is the phoenix-like rise of telemedicine.” Other reasons include its convenience and its ability to provide care to underrepresented areas in the country.
Telemedicine is spreading so rapidly that more than 15 million Americans received some kind of medical care remotely last year, per the American Telemedicine Association, as reported in the Wall Street Journal.
The Future of Telemed
Not all Americans have heard of telemedicine, though, and insurance coverage varies from health plan to health plan. Medicaid requires all providers to practice within the scope of their State Practice Act. In 2016, the American Medical Association adopted a Code of Medical Ethics it hopes physicians and the telemedicine industry will use to ensure safe and effective digital doctor-patient interactions.
A lot of hospitals and hospital systems are investing in telemedicine, including “virtual hospitals.” Intermountain Healthcare in Utah just announced a new virtual hospital model with 500 caregivers offering basic medical care and advanced services like stroke evaluation and mental health counseling. When the flu and snowstorms hit North Carolina earlier this year, Vidant Health decided it was a great time to roll out their roll out virtual doctor visits under their new telehealth model, too.
Recruiting for Telemedicine
There are a lot of other examples, but one important question physician recruiters have about telemedicine is this: Do doctors want to be “telemedicine” providers? The answer is mixed, but the ubiquity of technology and the expected growth of telemedicine means it’s reasonable to assume the niche will grow faster than doctor jobs as a whole. Many in the healthcare industry have championed the use of technology to supplement the work of physicians, not replace it.
With patients being encouraged to take more responsibility for their own care, technology is bringing the change – and doctors and physician recruiters know it’s reshaping how they work.
Are you recruiting physicians for telemedicine? Telemed recruiting has done incredibly well on Doximity; take a look at our case study on how Curavi found hiring success using Talent Finder.