With the advent of different virtual tools and medical applications, more and more patients are resorting to having virtual clinic visits than having face-to-face consults with their doctors. This is also coupled by an increasing number of physicians who employ this technology to exploit its convenience and accessibility. This development in medical technology is expected to experience continued surge in the next few years.
Researchers from Parks Associates predict that the virtual care doctor-video consultation industry will experience a growth spurt of 65% by the year 2018.
The Dallas-based market research company estimates that five years from now, the virtual clinic consultation industry will have $13.7 billion in revenue. In the study, it was shown that 28 percent of American households with broadband have had an experience or have used a virtual consultation platform. This is expected to increase in number in the next five years.
Another finding of the study shows that rapid increase in the connected care market is also expected. 32 million American consumers will be more conscious about their bodies and will be more active in tracking their health and lifestyle online or via smart phone applications. Parks also predicted that a significant rise in the sales of products and services which caters to the health and fitness section will also be observed, expecting an increase of more than $8 billion in 2018.
Harry Wang, director of digital health research at Parks Associates, implied that virtual care has become an indispensable part of the medical community. He states that “All types of healthcare providers, from hospitals to physicians, need to embrace virtual care to ensure its success.” Furthermore, he mentions that cloud-based communications and technologies will allow physicians to administer necessary care in hard to reach areas to efficiently provide urgent medical service.
In another recent report by Kaiser Permanente Northern California (KPNC), virtual physician visits have increased from 4.1 million in 2008 to around 10.5 million in 2013. This shows that the virtual care market has already shown promise in North California. Moreover, KPNC forecasts that by 2016, personal visits in North California will be exceeded by virtual consultations.