Physician Practice

Telemedicine still struggles to gain traction

Physician Practice Insider, April 18, 2017

Telemedicine is still a niche business for physician practices and one that’s been slow to expand due to restrictive policies that make billing for services a challenge. But some analysts say the industry may be just a few years away from gaining real traction in the market.

While major health systems like Kaiser Permanente have already made telemedicine an integral part of their operations, opportunities to enter the telemedicine market are still limited for most small- and medium-sized practices. That’s part of the reason that—like many technology-based mediums—the mainstreaming of telemedicine has been slow to arrive despite the hype.

“Telemedicine is something that has been ready to break out and go mainstream for years now, but it’s never really happened,” says Ellis Knight, MD, senior vice president and chief medical officer for the Coker Group in Alpharetta, Georgia. “Every year, we’ve been saying, ‘This is the thing that’s going to get the ball rolling,’ but it never seems to happen.”

Studies that measure the number of physician practices engaged in telemedicine are scarce, and the few that are available show penetration rates are still in the single digits.

This article was originally published in
Physician Practice Perspectives. Subscribers can read the full article in the April 2017 issue.

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