Executive summary :
Telehealth has helped expand access to care at a time when the pandemic has severely restricted patients’ ability to see their doctors. Actions taken by healthcare leaders today will determine if the full potential of telehealth is realised after the crisis has passed.
COVID-19 has caused a massive acceleration in the use of telehealth. Consumer adoption has skyrocketed, from 11 percent of US consumers using telehealth in 2019 to 46 percent of consumers now using telehealth to replace cancelled healthcare visits. Providers have rapidly scaled offerings and are seeing 50 to 175 times the number of patients via telehealth than they did before.
Pre-COVID-19, the total annual revenues of US telehealth players were an estimated $3 billion, with the largest vendors focused in the “virtual urgent care” segment: helping consumers get on-demand instant telehealth visits with physicians (most likely, with a physician they have no relationship with).
With the acceleration of consumer and provider adoption of telehealth and extension of telehealth beyond virtual urgent care, up to $250 billion of current US healthcare spend could potentially be virtualised.
This shift is not inevitable. It will require new ways of working for a broad set of providers, step-change improvements in information exchange, and broadening access and integration of technology. The potential impact is improved convenience and access to care, better patient outcomes, and a more efficient healthcare system. Healthcare players may consider moves now that support such a shift and improve their future position.
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