The global virtual visits market was valued at $13.26 billion in 2021 and is expected to reach $56.02 billion by 2027, growing at a CAGR of 27.15% from 2022 to 2027. In the virtual visit, a patient or medical professional uses a computer, smartphone, or tablet to obtain a diagnosis and send a prescription to their pharmacy. The visit is completed without leaving home or the workplace and amounts to far less than the cost of an emergency room or primary care office visit. Virtual visits are available to Health Action Council members and their employees from various vendors and providers. With the increasing telehealth utilization, there is also an increase in the adoption of virtual visit platforms. From 2017 to 2019, the virtual visit has doubled for Health Action Council members.
Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, people have shifted to virtual visits for medical and behavioral care because of convenience, ease of schedule, and have been found safe to avoid crowded waiting rooms. A recent report shows that about 76% of people are interested in using telehealth. Even after the pandemic ends, it is expected that about 83% of patients will use virtual care.
Virtual visits offer an easier, faster way to find and see a provider. Less than 2% of outpatient behavioral health and medical claims have been for virtual visits. According to CDC reports, virtual visits have seen a 50% increase in March 2020 and continued to increase as lockdowns continued worldwide. According to studies, about 54% of respondents prefer to use virtual health as an option for consultation or diagnosis.
Advantages of Virtual Visits
- Reduced waiting time
- It saves the traveling time
- Easy access to expertise and specialty physicians
- Reduces overall cost of healthcare and treatment
- Better disease management
The development of the telecommunication system has increased the scope of virtual care services immensely. With the introduction of virtual visit services, the growth of traditional medical diagnosis is growing at a moderate pace, especially in the high-income countries where virtual visit has become a widespread practice for consultation. The introduction of virtual visits has led to cost-effective treatment, adoption of home healthcare services, and low expenditure on infrastructure development. The virtual visit has revolutionized the healthcare industry as it reduces hospital visits, reduces patient wait time, and decreases the physical discomfort caused to patients. Further, globally, higher expenditure on healthcare IT by the major stakeholders in the healthcare industry is contributing to the global virtual visits market growth.
The rising incidences of chronic medical conditions such as diabetes and hypertension influence market growth. Virtual visits are valuable tools for continuous monitoring of chronic diseases and treatment. The adoption of virtual visit services is expected to rise with advancements in technology and high penetration of internet connectivity with more incredible speed & smart gadgets. Communication technologies (ICTs) and Modern information, such as computers, laptops, the Internet, and smartphones, are revolutionizing the communication among people that seek and exchange information and enriching their lives.
Artificial intelligence (AI) will add value and promote the virtual visit market growth. Artificial Intelligence paired with telehealth had been on the rise before the COVID-19, which created increased virtual visits capacity.
VENDORS' ACTIVITIES IN THE MARKET
The global virtual visits market is highly dynamic and fragmented, with the presence of several international, regional, and local players. The key players in the market are AMD Global Telemedicine, American Well, Koninklijke Philips, and Teladoc Health.
- Expansion activities (facility expansions and regional business) are helping players strengthen their market share and global distribution networks, thus allowing them to explore untapped opportunities.
- Large scale investments in the single-use bioprocessing probes and sensors market through varied conglomerates and investments firms
- Forging partnerships and collaborations with well-established manufacturers cementing the footprints of the players
- Active mergers and acquisitions play a vital role in the smooth functioning of the growth cycle.
- The market is experiencing a surge in technological advancements in virtual care and the launch of new software and integrated hardware or devices or connected healthcare devices.
- Vendors invest highly in integrating hardware or connected devices, software, and applications.
- Key vendors operating in the market have demonstrated that they can provide reliable healthcare platforms to a large pool of patients at low cost or even zero cost per visit with the qualifying insurance plan in the US, depending on the type of visit.
- Some key vendors offer services 24/7 in urgent care and provide on-demand video visits.
- Many start-up companies are entering the market with the increased funding being received by the government and the private entities with innovative virtual visits platforms and solutions to gain traction among end-users
- The key players make substantial R&D investments and develop innovative and technologically advanced products, thereby restricting small and medium-sized vendors from capturing higher market shares.
MARKET GROWTH ENABLERS
- Rising reimbursements by insurers and the government during the COVID-19 pandemic
- Rising adoption of patient care technology and growing digitalization
- Increasing demand for personalized care in remote areas
- Increasing Prevalence of chronic diseases and aging population
IMPACT OF COVID-19 PANDEMIC
Before the COVID-19 pandemic, the adoption of virtual visits remained low due to a lack of reimbursement, awareness, and internet connectivity. Also, there was a limited number of healthcare providers offering virtual visit services to medical professionals and patients. Telehealth had been around for years before the COVID-19 crisis; there are many regulatory bodies and state parity laws that limited reimbursement by Medicare, Medicaid, and private insurers, curbed allowable sites of care, and placed licensure restrictions on who can provide telehealth services.
Virtual visits services have increased during the COVID-19 pandemic worldwide; the government permitted to make the consultation via virtual visit platforms by relaxing the regulations and increasing the reimbursements.
With the surge in COVID-19 cases, virtual visits jumped from 30% in 2020 to 33% in 2021, while satisfaction with asynchronous telehealth services leveraging pictures and videos grew from 41% to 54% in the same period. In 2020, 53% of US patients said they were more satisfied with live video than with previous in-person interactions.
MARKET SEGMENT ANALYSIS
The service segment is the fastest-growing segment by component, with the highest revenue of $10.35 billion in 2021, whereas hardware and software generated $2.91 billion. Several vendors offer a wide range of services in various specialties. The healthcare providers provide services giving both the options of a scheduled or on-demand visit. The services have widely been adopted in high-income countries and are also expected to gain momentum in low-and-middle-income countries. The hardware and software segment is expected to grow at an excellent pace in the forecast period, with a CAGR of 26.20%.
General consultation is the fastest-growing segment, with a CAGR of 25.90%. There were full restrictions worldwide to go outside, and fear of getting COVID-19 infection within hospitals led to increased virtual visits worldwide. The chronic care management market is expected to grow due to the increasing prevalence of chronic diseases and the increasing elderly population. Chronic care management services also give cost-benefit as most of the service fee is cut to as low as $0, depending on the patient's insurance plan, thus saving the overall visit cost. Also, initiatives are increasing support for chronic care management virtual visit services.
Adults are the fastest-growing patient group because of their increasing use of virtual visits. The high population and increasing chronic diseases among adults, especially in the geriatric population, have increased the demand for virtual visits. The use of virtual visit platforms and services is very high among adults from high-income countries with good infrastructure, good internet access, and awareness. The pediatric group is expected to grow at a CAGR of 23.85% during the forecast period.
North America and Europe have the highest adoption rate of telehealth services due to high internet connectivity, increasing reimbursements, and full insurance coverage. In addition, North America dominates the critical vendor's presence. APAC, Latin America, and the Middle East & Africa region witnessed an increase in the adoption during a pandemic. However, limited reimbursement coverage, data security, privacy concern, lack of infrastructure, and a lack of consumer awareness of telehealth services are hindering the growth of the virtual visits market in these regions.