Nowadays an issue like telehealth or telemedicine is not something abnormal, extraordinary or an extravagancy for richer part of the society. Moreover under circumstances of COVID-19 pandemic the telehealth sector became more known (thus in many countries telemedicine is a well-known medicine and services sector) and, what is more relevant, it became one of the most (or even the most) crucial and indispensable way to communicate with the doctor and to take care of yourself.
Fast, easy to operate, straightforward and accessible for every internet and phone users telehealth expanded into our life and our health-life. It is a undoubtful fact that it is one of the most rapidly, dynamically, successfully branch of economy, especially in the life sciences sector. The 4th economic revolution we are experiencing and participating (consciously or unconsciously) impressed us on the fact that an iphone just a smartphone has become the command and management centre of our lives. Therefore we also use our phones (electronic devices in general) to control, observe and manage our health- life or even health life of our children, relatives and pets. Companies have long noticed this medical-technological trend, but now (also due to the global situation) it has significantly accelerated.
In support of this thesis, we want to submit you a new report (CB Insights report) about the state of telehealth sector and polish, detailed regulation (The Minister of Health ordinance from 12th August, 2020) about the tele-med-guidance rules.
The CB INSIGHTS published a report- State Of Telehealth Q2’21 Report: Investment & Sector Trends To Watch which in a very adequate, professional and analytical way pointes the main global trends in a telehealth economic sector out and uses the examples of the biggest transactions, M&A with extensive use of statistical data, diagrams and schemes.
In the ‘Telehealth Market Drivers’ we can read that:
The amount of new articles mentioning healthcare’s digital transformation increased from 154 in the middle of 2016 (July 2016) to 1707 in the middle of 2021 (June 2021) with the peak at the end of 2020 (2,043 new articles about healthcare digitalization). Despite the fact that amount of new articles has decreased the main tendency is observable. To emphasize this upward trend, it is worth mentioning that nearly 60% of healthcare organizations are adding new digital projects and 42% are accelerating some or all of their existing digital transformation plans.
It is significant that earnings call mentioning ‘patient experience’ increased form 90 in the third quarter of 2016 (with the highest decline at the beginning of 2020 to 67) to 137 in the second quarter of 2021. Moreover the telemedicine sector is the healthcare area in which organizations are currently investing the most to improve the ‘patient experience’ (the other two areas are HER interoperability and patient portals or another digital messaging system).
As we can see at the graphs and statistical data the telehealth visits appear to be stabilizing at levels well above those pre-pandemic. As one of the Optum Leadership (is was Mr. Wyatt Decker) said:
We’re seeing continued sustainability of virtual care solutions which, as you may know, peaked during the height of the pandemic, have declined some, but are still probably 10x where they were pre-pandemic. And certain conditions or behavior areas…are now seeing about 50% utilization through virtual services. So we’re very excited about where we are going to take this.
The pandemic exacerbated and exposed the magnitude of social and health inequities faced by different racial groups in the US. In April, the CDC declared structural racism — rooted in unequal SDOH* burden — a public health crisis. In the report we can see the significant and sharp rise of the new articles mentioning about health equity and inequity and earnings call mentioning these issues.
As the report shows (based on the US Senate Lobbying Disclosure Act and other reports database) from the 2nd quarter of 2019 to these time the telehealth lobbying reports increased from 0 to 400. And this value has remained at the same level for 3 years. The most active telehealth lobbyists are inter alia University of Alabama System, MetroHealth, AHIP or BlueCross BlueShield Association.
The Polish legislator was not indifferent to these global changes and trends and introduced a number of regulations in the field of telemedicine including the Ordinance of the Minister of Health from the 12th August 2020 on the organizational standard of online doctor consultation in primary health care based on article 22 section 5 of the Act of April 15, 2011 on medical activities.
This ordinance contains:
(1) the definitions of:
(2) The general standard of the online doctor consultation:
 State Of Telehealth Q2’21 Report: Investment & Sector Trends To Watch, CB Insights Report, 29 July, 2021. To get full report: https://www.cbinsights.com/research/report/telehealth-trends-q2-2021/ (data access: 3rd August, 2021).