Europe’s telehealth market anticipates significant growth and expansion over the next several years.
COVID-19 impacted healthcare in many ways, including the growth and expansion of telehealth. As a result, health systems and providers adopted or expanded eHealth and telehealth platforms to offer virtual visits to patients to keep them socially distanced to mitigate the spread of the virus.
Although more patients are returning to healthcare facilities and physicians’ offices than they did in early 2020, Data Bridge Market Research analysis for Europe’s telehealth market anticipates growth at a CAGR of 14.1 percent through 2027. In addition, analysts predict healthcare organizations will use the next few years to integrate innovative technologies and data analytics to optimize telehealth.
Reasons for Growth
Patients have shown a willingness to trade routine office visits for telehealth to avoid interruptions to the workday, travel plans, childcare and other elements of their daily routines. Moreover, it’s often better for an ill person to remain at home and simply log in to see a physician rather than struggling to go to an appointment and possibly expose others to the illness.
By utilizing the digital health platforms that often include portals where patient health information is securely shared and stored, patients and their providers can easily connect and share information.
Data Bridge Market Research cites the high literacy rate as one of the reasons for growth in the telehealth market. As a result, more people can access and use the technology without a language barrier or fear of navigating the technology. Additional drivers include:
- In areas with limited access to healthcare, telehealth enables connecting patients with providers, especially specialty physicians, such as cardiologists, neurologists, and dermatologists, that would otherwise require lengthy travel for scheduled visits.
- Providers gain the freedom to offer more options for care. For example, they can adopt hybrid models that combine virtual and in-person care to expand the practice’s services (e.g., a patient may have an in-person consult, but subsequent care or postoperative visits may be done virtually).
Additionally, healthcare providers made investments in technology in 2020 to stay connected to their existing patients and attract new ones. They will want to see that investment pay off through continued telehealth use, optimization, and expansion.
Venture capitalists are also banking on growth and accelerating the investment in telehealth by investing as much in the first half of 2021 as they did in all of 2020 — and it’s nearly three times more than telehealth investments in 2017. In addition, with that investment comes the demand for innovation and sustainability within the digital health infrastructure and beyond the urgent virtual care models to include expansion of services within primary care, specialty, remote patient monitoring and diagnostics.
Solution Providers: Get Prepared
In anticipation of a rise in telehealth growth, solutions providers should prepare to provide solutions that help healthcare providers overcome challenges related to regulations, strategic development, implementation, and innovation. Take steps now to:
- Define set up costs: Interoperability with eHealth solutions and integration with Internet of Things (IoT) sensors and devices can complicate deployment. Factor in all costs to give your clients a realistic number for budgeting.
- Develop training offerings: Outline any technical education needed to deal with the providers’ lack of IT skills. Remember, your clients are most likely healthcare professionals, not telehealth technology experts.
And finally, prepare your teams to meet geographic needs related to telehealth in Europe. According to Manomet Current, Germany anticipates the greatest demand due to the increasing prevalence of chronic disease, the high pace of growth in technology, and government spending related to improving healthcare infrastructure. Additionally, France expects to have the highest growth rate in the coming years due to 4G and 5G expansion and adoption of artificial intelligence (AI) to solve complex treatments.
Other factors, including changing lifestyles and increasing illness and disease related to cardiopulmonary and other disorders, will present a continuing need for telehealth. The demand, growth and challenges that healthcare providers face also mean an opportunity to expand their services and reach more patients through digital health platforms.