Report: Telemedicine spending to approach $3.6B annually by 2014

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The market for telemedicine devices and services will generate nearly $3.6 billion in annual revenue within the next five years, with mobile services companies taking a sizeable chunk of that business, according to a report from market research firm Pike & Fischer (P &F).

The need to control costs, along with the development and expansion of faster wireless broadband networks, smartphones and data compression solutions, will drive the market growth, P &F said. Wireless applications, devices and services will account for more than 70 percent of the total market spending within five years, the Silver Spring, Md.-based company projected in the report.

AT &T will have the largest presence in this market, followed closely by Verizon and Sprint Nextel, predicted Tim Deal, a senior analyst in P &F's broadband advisory services group. He also believes that smaller software and device manufacturers will quickly find themselves targeted for acquisition.

Driving that spending is the economic stimulus legislation that President Barack Obama signed earlier this year. The initiative included $20 billion for health IT, with a specific focus on EMRs and telemedicine. P &F forecast that at least 25 percent of the $20 billion in stimulus funds earmarked for health IT will be applied toward broadband-enabled telemedicine services, such as remote patient monitoring and mobile access to medical records, and consumer applications, such as interactive fitness guides and mobile health-related videos.

“These estimates will climb if the Obama administration’s proposed healthcare reform plan passes,” said Deal. “The proposed healthcare reform includes an investment of $50 billion over five years to promote health IT.”