The healthcare sector is continuously a beneficiary of technological advancements and cutting-edge developments, but a new trend that has just begun to emerge may open the doors to a completely different approach to medicine. According to research from Kalorama Information, the mobile health market could reach $86.6 billion by 2020, a yearly increase of 20.8% over a five-year period.
As the approach to patient care evolves, several innovative companies are developing breakthrough solutions which permit people to receive medical care from the comfort of their homes. Referred to as “Telemedicine,” this market symbolizes a growing division of the healthcare sector and companies are taking advantage of its increase in popularity.
According to a Research and Markets report, the market for telemedicine was valued at $29.6 billion in 2017 and is anticipated to grow at a CAGR of 19% during 2017-2022. The reported growth is likely to be driven by increasing adoption of telemedicine, rise in chronic diseases, growing geriatric population, government initiatives among others. As this new trend continues to evolve, here are 3 companies that have adopted this new approach.
Premier Health Group Inc. has focused its attention on the Canadian healthcare market and the company’s subsidiary, HealthVue has an ecosystem of over 100,000 active patients. Statistics from HealthVue revealed that about 15% of Canadians aged 12 and older don’t have a primary care physician and that nearly two-thirds of seniors are unable to get a same-or next-day appointment. This contributes to about 7 in 10 Canadians avoiding seeing a doctor when they are sick.
HealthVue doctors can choose to see patients in the office, at home or on vacation. In addition, through its telemedicine app/website users can see a virtual HealthVue doctor. Essentially, it allows users the ability to access their healthcare professionals, engage with doctors and even send monitoring data to doctors right from the palm of a user’s hand, 24/7.
Since it is government funded in British Columbia, there’s no additional cost to the patient and extends to prescriptions, which can be electronically submitted to a pharmacy or delivered free by a preferred pharmacy partner. Premier Health currently has four clinics in BC. In addition to this, the company has also engaged with its health technology partner, Reliq Technologies (RHT) (RQHTF), which will expand the user base into British Columbia and Australia with recently announced pilots.
Teladoc Health, Inc. (TDOC)
Teladoc is transforming how people access and experience healthcare, with a focus on high quality, lower costs, and improved outcomes throughout 125 countries around the world. The company’s award-winning, integrated clinical solutions are inclusive of telehealth, expert medical services, AI and analytics, and licensable platform services. Earlier this month, CVS Health (CVS) announced working collaboratively with Teladoc giving patients access to receive care via a MinuteClinic Video Visit, initiated through the CVS Pharmacy app in several U.S states such as Delaware, Kentucky, Nebraska among others.
This news followed the announcement of the availability of the Best Doctors Oncology Insight service in Canada. Oncology Insight enables individuals with a cancer diagnosis to receive an in-depth medical review from a world-renowned expert oncologist who has access to the cognitive computing capabilities of IBM Watson for Oncology. Oncology Insight is now available to Sun Life Assurance Company of Canada’s group benefits members who have Best Doctors Expert Medical Services through their Extended Health Care (EHC) plan.
“With Oncology Insight, experts can use augmented intelligence from IBM Watson for Oncology to create personalized treatment recommendations, empowering patients and physicians with actionable data that can help them make more informed decisions,” said Dr. Lewis Levy, chief medical officer, Teladoc Health. “With the peer-reviewed literature and evidence-based references that Watson presents, oncologists can quickly access and review treatment options that they may not have otherwise considered. We’re proud to work with Sun Life Financial to help their members diagnosed with cancer.”
Cigna Corporation (CI)
Cinga is a global health service company dedicated to helping people improve their health, well-being and sense of security. Exclusively, and through its subsidiaries, products offered include: medical, dental, behavioral health, pharmacy, vision, supplemental benefits, among others. The company maintains sales capability in over 30 countries with over 95 million customers.
Cigna is not new to the idea of telemedicine. The health insurance giant offers ‘Cigna Telehealth Connection Program’, which provides access to the company’s contracted telehealth providers, American Well and MDLIVE. With this service, eligible customers have access to speak with board-certified doctors thought online video chat or by phone and obtain prescriptions. In August, MDLive closed a $50 million investment round led by Cigna and Health Care Service Corporation.
“Choice, personalization and affordability are critical to improving the U.S. health care system,” said Tom Richards, Global Leader for Strategy & Business Development, Cigna. “Telehealth impacts all three of these factors and we are continuing to invest in MDLIVE as a proven leader in the space. As a result of our partnership with MDLIVE to offer virtual visits with care providers, we have seen improved customer satisfaction, as well as a 17 percent decrease in total medical cost and 36 percent decrease in emergency department utilization for that population.”
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