The global home healthcare market is expected to reach USD 353.56 billion by 2022 from USD 237.05 billion in 2017 at a CAGR of 8.3%. Growth in this market is mainly driven by the growing geriatric population, increasing incidence of chronic diseases, and rising demand for affordable healthcare delivery systems due to increasing healthcare cost, technological advancements, and government initiatives to promote home healthcare. Rising awareness on the convenience and cost-effectiveness of home healthcare products and services is also aiding market growth. Moreover, the increasing adoption of telecommunications in healthcare has helped the development of the telehealth market segment. However, changing reimbursement policies, limited insurance coverage, and patient safety concerns are some factors that may hinder the growth of this market.
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What are the opportunities because of rising focus on telehealth?
Telehealth enables home healthcare providers to make an impact, even by not being physically present. It enables round-the-clock monitoring of a patient and helps predict a potential crisis before it occurs. Telehealth encompasses a broad variety of technologies and tactics to deliver virtual medical, health, and education services, such as remote patient monitoring and mHealth. Through virtual sessions, nurses or physicians can evaluate a patient’s condition using audio-visual tools and decide the next steps to be taken—from providing care, to issuing a prescription, or in some cases, referring the patient for follow-up care. For such reasons, telehealth is increasingly becoming invaluable to patients.
In addition to increasing patient satisfaction, implementing telehealth on a national scale would also save money by shifting the cost of care from high-cost settings like emergency rooms to the much lower cost of telehealth services. Telehealth has helped improve the lives of many patients in the US—according to the American Telehealth Association (ATA), around 15 million Americans benefitted from telehealth services in 2015. This was expected to grow by 30% by 2016. In addition, due to the wide usage of telehealth in the US, the government introduced the Telehealth Promotion Act at the end of 2015, which aimed to improve the coverage and reimbursement scenario of telehealth in the country. Such initiatives are expected to increase the usage of telehealth and create an array of opportunities for the development of this market.
What are the challenges because of the shortage of home care workers?
Currently, home healthcare is a booming market, with increasing demand for home care providers/workers. According to the employment projections of the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, during 2014-2024, home healthcare occupations such as personal care aides and home health aides ranked in the top 10 of the list of growing healthcare occupations. The demand for these occupations is expected to reach 1.3 million heads between 2013 and 2022 in the US (Source: The New York Times). The bureau also stated that the demand for personal care aides and home health aides would increase by 48% by 2022 from 2013.
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However, low compensation affects the demand and supply cycle. According to the bureau, in 2016, the median pay of home health aides was USD 22,600 per year (approximately USD 10.8 per hour). Medical assistants, on the other hand, earn a median pay of USD 31,540, while physical therapist assistants receive a median pay of ~USD 85,400 annually. Although the work is similar, there is a vast difference in the compensation offered to home health workers compared to other healthcare providers. This makes it difficult for people to accept these jobs in the US.
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