Healthcare Technology Support Beyond a Hospital's Four Walls
Global Telehealth Forecast
“The Global Telehealth market accounted for $4.50 billion in 2018 and is expected to reach $32.71 billion by 2027 growing at a CAGR of 24.7% during the forecast period.”1
Telehealth spells big business. As the global healthcare industry hungers for innovative ways to cut costs and address the growing shortages of healthcare professionals, patients hunger for a convenient, yet cost-effective approach to healthcare — and telehealth solutions are quickly rising to the occasion.
Global Adoption of Telehealth Solutions
Europe, like most of the world, is facing a shortage of medical practitioners, an aging population, and a rise in chronic diseases. But thanks in great part to both an increasing number of digitally-savvy patients and advanced technology, telehealth is growing in popularity as a viable healthcare service.
But telehealth adoption in Europe isn’t without its challenges, one in particular is the uniquely diverse European Union (EU). Citizens of the EU are free to live and work throughout the 28 Member States. Currently, the EU recognizes 24 official languages and comprises well over 512 million people. In order for healthcare practitioners to remotely consult with, diagnose, and treat this growing multilingual and multicultural community, linguistic integration must be an integral part of any telehealth platform.
Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC), Asia, and Africa
In their 2015 book entitled, “Telehealth in the developing world: current status and future prospects”, authors Richard E. Scott and Maurice Mars discuss the promising telehealth initiatives taking place in key areas of the developing world despite many obstacles.
In Brazil, for instance, “telehealth has become embedded in the delivery of health care”2, and in Malaysia, India, and China (along with many other countries in the Asian region), a growing number of telehealth programs are being adopted. With a rise in mobile applications and smartphone adoption, Africa, too, has seen a significant increase in telehealth initiatives.
One major driver of telehealth services in the developing world is the growing disparity between the number of medical practitioners and population size. In Sub-Saharan Africa alone, the “physician-to-population ratio ranges from 1:5,000 to 1:30,000, while in developed countries the typical ratio is 1:300.3 And then there is the significant challenge of meeting the multicultural and multilingual needs of the population.
Only 65% “of India’s population is literate with only 2% being well-versed in English.”4 In Africa, roughly 2,000 languages are spoken (and some suggest as many as 3,000). By implementing multilingual telehealth solutions, healthcare practitioners have the potential to reach a substantially greater number of patients than traditional healthcare service delivery.
U.S. Telehealth Initiatives
As the U.S. healthcare industry transitions from a fee-for-service to a value-based model, access to quality care, reduction of costs, and patient satisfaction have become high priorities for healthcare providers.
Throughout the U.S., the future for telehealth services looks bright.This advanced technology expands patient reach, allowing healthcare providers to treat more patients in remote areas. No longer do patients need to travel long distances or miss work just to make medical appointments. Recent research has also shown that the implementation of telehealth services is not only a cost-effective alternative to traditional brick-and-mortar appointments, but it also reduces the number of emergency room visits.
Telehealth services facilitate collaboration among healthcare specialists and help patients to access a variety of healthcare services that might not otherwise be available in their local communities. And since patients are generally able to be seen sooner than they would in a traditional healthcare setting, telehealth has increased efficiency for providers which has resulted in fewer missed appointments and cancellations. For these reasons alone, telehealth is growing in popularity among U.S. healthcare practitioners and patients. In fact, in a recent American Well survey, patients across several age groups have expressed a willingness to leave their current primary care physicians (PCPs) in favor of those who offer telehealth services.
And while it is true that senior use of telehealth services is low compared to the younger generations, “52% of seniors are willing to have a telehealth visit”5 which translates to nearly 25 million individuals.
But what about the growing number of limited-English proficient (LEP) persons within the United States? When we include both the LEP “speaking” population and the Deaf and Hard of Hearing (D/HoH) communities, there are now an estimated 36 million LEP persons living within the United States. How can telehealth services meet their unique healthcare needs?
Multilingual and Multicultural Barriers to Telehealth
It is imperative that telemedicine be implemented equitably and to the highest ethical standards, to maintain the dignity of all individuals and ensure that differences in education, language, geographic location, physical and mental ability, age, and sex will not lead to marginalization of care. – The World Health Organization
According to ROBO Global, worldwide adoption of telehealth technology is accelerating. In fact, the 2019 ROBO Global Healthcare Technology & Innovation Index* “includes 9 subsectors of suitable product and technology maturity to the Healthcare Technology and Innovation theme that carry high growth and earnings potential.”6 One of these key subsectors is telehealth. And although this is promising, as the Word Health Organization points out, linguistic and cultural barriers between patients and service providers pose one of the greatest challenges to overcome. Time and again, research has shown that patients who live in rural areas and speak minority languages regularly face linguistic and communication barriers within the healthcare system.
In the United States, wait times for in-person interpreting services and limited access to interpreters for rare languages can cause undue additional stress for patients and their families. On a global perspective, patients in both rural and underserved communities (especially in developing countries) “traditionally suffer from lack of access to health care.”7 Worse still, many of these patient populations won’t even seek medical assistance for fear of being misunderstood.
For these vulnerable communities, multilingual telehealth support can literally mean the difference between seeking medical help or receiving no healthcare services at all. With telehealth services growing in popularity on a global scale, healthcare providers are looking for language services providers (LSPs) that offer viable multilingual telehealth solutions – and thanks to Akorbi, they now have one.
*The ROBO Global Healthcare Technology & Innovation Index “includes both developed and emerging market stocks with market capitalizations greater than $200 million and three-month average daily trading values of at least $1m.”8
Akorbi's Advanced Multilingual Telehealth Solutions
Akorbi’s ongoing commitment to effective multilingual services helps ensure all patients have an equal opportunity to participate in their healthcare. Our advanced multilingual telehealth solutions connect patients remotely to their healthcare providers, removing frustrating and potentially dangerous linguistic and cultural barriers. Our industry-leading platform offers virtual visits and queuing, electronic medical records (EMR) integration, clinic management, remote patient monitoring, and medsitter patient sitting with full integration of interpreting solutions in over 170 world languages.
Telehealth is rising to the forefront of today’s global healthcare services model and Akorbi is rising right alongside. We provide advanced multilingual telehealth solutions that not only connect patients to their providers, but act as the bridge that connects the global healthcare industry.
Help us bridge the patient-provider communication gap. Partner with Akorbi today.
1. ltd, Research and Markets. “Telehealth – Global Market Outlook (2018-2027) – Research and Markets.” Research and Markets – Market Research Reports – Welcome, www.researchandmarkets.com/reports/4844735/telehealth-global-market-outlook-2018-2027.
2. Scott, Richard E, and Maurice Mars. “[Full Text] Telehealth in the Developing World: Current Status and Future Prospect: SHTT.” Smart Homecare Technology and TeleHealth, Dove Press, 2 Feb. 2015, www.dovepress.com/telehealth-in-the-developing-world-current-status-and-future-prospects-peer-reviewed-fulltext-article-SHTT.
3. Combi, Carlo, et al. “Telemedicine for Developing Countries. A Survey and Some Design Issues.” Applied Clinical Informatics, Schattauer, 2 Nov. 2016, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5228142/.
4. Dasgupta, Aparajita, and Soumya Deb. “Telemedicine: a New Horizon in Public Health in India.” Indian Journal of Community Medicine : Official Publication of Indian Association of Preventive & Social Medicine, Medknow Publications, Jan. 2008, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2782224/.
5. “Telehealth Index: 2019 Senior Consumer Survey.” American Well, American Well, 2019, static.americanwell.com/app/uploads/2019/07/Senior-Consumer-Survey-eBook-2.pdf.
6. “HTEC Index.” Robo Global, www.roboglobal.com/robo-global-indices/htec-index/.
7. “Telemedicine Opportunities and Developments in Member States.” World Health Organization, World Health Organization, 2010, www.who.int/goe/publications/goe_telemedicine_2010.pdf.
8. “ROBO Global Launches Global Healthcare Technology & Innovation ETF.” ETF Strategy, 4 July 2019, www.etfstrategy.com/robo-global-launches-global-healthcare-technology-etf-10339/.
In addition to:
“Europe Telemedicine Market: Growth, Trends, and Forecast (2019-2024).” Market Research – Consulting, Reports, Advisory, Sizing, www.mordorintelligence.com/industry-reports/european-telemedicine-market-industry.