European telemedicine grows, but high cost stymies widespread adoption

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New analysis from market research firm Frost & Sullivan has revealed that the European telemedicine market generated revenues of $118 million in 2007 and is estimated to reach $236 million by 2014.

Although the European telemedicine industry has achieved significant progress, hurdles still exist including the greater need for standards across the EU and physician acceptance of novel telemedicine technologies, according to Frost & Sullivan.
 
Frost & Sullivan research analyst Janani Narasimhan noted that new telemedicine networks will be able to take advantage of recent improvements in telecommunications infrastructure and the growth in digital communications and will have numerous applications in telemedicine.

According to Frost & Sullivan, many market participants are looking to lower the cost of technologies to widen the deployment of telemedicine, while health organizations are increasingly using telehealth technology to monitor patients remotely. However, the lack of payor reimbursement is a major barrier to broader adoption, as well as questionable returns on investment, the report said.

“The high cost of operation has led to the perception among early adopters that telehealth costs must fall to nearly one-third to one-fifth of their present prices before they become widespread and easily accessible,” explained Narasimhan.

According to the report, governments will be compelled to adopt certain e-health strategies accompanied by concrete actions if they wish to keep pace with future demands for healthcare and reduce escalating healthcare costs.