chapter  Chapter 9
Telemedicine: The Quest for Quality and Value
ByVincent K. Omachonu
Pages 24

Telemedicine is the use of telecommunications technology such as phones and computers to provide clinical services to patients who lack access to care. Healthcare professionals can diagnose, treat, and monitor patients by using teleconferencing, phone calls, emails, mobile apps, image sharing, and even video chat without the need for long journeys or in-person hospital consultations. Telemedicine is rapidly transforming how healthcare is delivered throughout the world. There were just over one million telehealth consults in 2016, with an addressable market estimated of more than 400 million potential telehealth consults (Guttman, 2017). For older Americans, Guttman notes, a review of medical records found that 38 percent of doctor visits, including 27 percent of emergency room (ER) visits could have been replaced with telemedicine. A report from information and analytics firm IHS Markit (reported by Japsen, 2015) says video consultations will jump to nearly 27 million in the U.S. market, driven by the primary care market, where insurance coverage is rapidly widening. IHS Markit projects there will be a cumulative annual growth of nearly 25 percent a year over the next five years to 5.4 million video consultations between primary care providers and their patients by 2020 (reported by Japsen, 2015).