The further expansion of treatment options for anxiety and depression – among them at-home genetic medical testing, prescription delivery and online psychiatry – is due to accelerate the predicted growth of the telehealth industry even further; by 2026, the global telehealth market size if projected to reach US$266.8 billion (a compound annual growth rate of 23.4 per cent), according to a report from Fortune Business Insights.
“Since healthcare facilities are focused on dealing with coronavirus patients, treatments for other diseases have taken a backseat. In this context, telehealth technologies have enabled medical professionals to ensure that patients with chronic and other serious conditions are provided with the necessary medical care during the pandemic,” Fortune wrote.
In a news release, Relief Seeker listed multiple anxiety treatment-related telehealth platforms and players that had emerged since the onset of the global pandemic, including those that offered all-in-one anxiety treatments, and those that rolled the cost of psychiatric consultations and medical delivery into a flat monthly fee, as well as a range of mobile application support groups.
Navigating telemedicine regulation in 2021
The big question now for telehealth will be how to regulate this service going forward. While the uptake of the solutions has been pivotal to increasing remote access to care throughout the past year, economic, geographical and age divisions have all highlighted inconsistencies in access to this type of care. Not to mention the fact that stringent security protocols need to be implemented, as does a reassessment of policy coverage – in the early days of Covid-19, governments, including those in the US, were reimbursing telehealth services. But as this funding falls away, payors are going to need to consider the cost implications of factoring telemedicine services into their coverage.
Back in 2020, ITIJ investigated the initial ‘boom’ in telemedicine uptake, looking at what exactly had caused the surge in demand for the service.