A Surprising Healthcare Opportunity in the Era of “Social Distancing”
In times of chaos, there is opportunity.
And even during great upheavals – as my colleague David Fessler loves to say – “Technology marches on.”
Yes, we are living through a surreal moment.
But this new environment – this new way of living – is fostering major changes. And not just in the way we do business.
There are plenty of essential services and industries that must continue to operate at peak performance, despite the crisis. And on the front lines is healthcare.
When the dust settles, this sector might be the most changed.
Due to the highly contagious nature of the COVID-19 virus, many doctors are encouraging patients who are exhibiting symptoms to visit them virtually.
To use “telemedicine.”
Companies offering these services have welcomed a tsunami of interest since the onset of the pandemic.
In fact, the CEO of telemedicine platform provider American Well was recently on TV saying the company has seen a 10% to 15% increase in business directly related to COVID-19.
Competitors like Doctor on Demand and Teladoc are experiencing increased demand as well. The volume of virtual consults is increasing for both sick and healthy patients.
Additionally, an entire generation of new doctors is entering the field with the understanding that telemedicine is the future.
A friend of mine recently completed a year of research on the use of telemedicine video visits for children with medical complexities. These children are medically fragile and require costly pediatric care, making them prime candidates for treatment without travel.
This friend is one of thousands of doctors who are already equipped with the skills needed to make telehealth a reality beyond today’s crisis conditions.
The silver lining of COVID-19 is that it could be a turning point for U.S. healthcare.
Before COVID-19 hit, telemedicine was clawing its way onto the scene.
The global telemedicine market was valued at $40.1 billion in 2018. At the time, analysts forecast that the market would hit $148.3 billion by 2025.
Medical practices are notoriously slow to adopt new technologies like this. Patients and physicians are often hesitant to embrace something so drastically new.
But the current era of “social distancing” forces both to try out this new technology… and many are finding that it’s not so bad.
Now, in the wake of COVID-19, I wouldn’t be surprised if the market greatly surpassed that projected valuation before 2025.
Already, the sudden and widespread adoption of telemedicine has been so successful that telehealth providers don’t expect to return to pre-pandemic levels.
It’s here to stay. And COVID-19 helped accelerate its spread.
Stay safe and sanitized,
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