Telemedicine expected to be a leading industry trend in 2021, with some telemedicine apps having reported whopping 8,270% increase in downloads in 2020, says GlobalData

The COVID-19 pandemic has shown the many wide-ranging benefits of telemedicine. In a survey by GlobalData, pharmaceutical industry professionals noted that they expect telemedicine to remain a leading industry trend in 2021 and beyond.

GlobalData’s latest report, The State of the Biopharmaceutical Industry 2021, reveals that telemedicine is expected to be a leading industry trend in 2021, behind real-world evidence, remote patient monitoring, personalized medicine and immune-oncology development.

Kitty Whitney MSc, Director of Thematic Research, comments: “Telemedicine was added to the survey for the first time this year and has surpassed other key industry trends such as virtual clinical trials and electronic health records. ”

Telemedicine emerged as a critical strategy during the pandemic to limit the risk of transmission and allow patients to receive care during lockdown measures, which led to policymakers in many countries relaxing regulations to facilitate its widespread usage.

Whitney adds: “Prior to COVID-19, telemedicine had never reached its full potential, with barriers such as reimbursement, accessibility, lack of awareness, resistance to change and connectivity issues preventing its uptake. An analysis** by GlobalData showed significant increases in mobile app downloads for on-demand telemedicine platforms, with many having more downloads in Q2 2020 than for all of 2019. For example, the patient companion app for InTouch Health had approximately 2,300 downloads in 2019, but over 22,300 in Q2 2020 – an increase of around 870%. Similarly, downloads for MediSprout’s V2MD app increased from under 50 in 2019 to about 4,100 in Q2 2020, an increase of 8,270%.

“During the early stages of the pandemic, GlobalData predicted that COVID-19 would be a tipping point for telemedicine, as its benefits are increasingly realized. Telemedicine could address some of the issues faced by healthcare systems, such as workforce shortages, accessing affordable care, and increased healthcare spending.

“While telemedicine is a promising technology, it is not a flawless solution. In-person consultations, patient assessments and certain diagnostic tests cannot be fully replaced by virtual care. Finding a balance between traditional and innovative methods will maximize the benefits of telemedicine.”

* A total of 198 GlobalData Pharma clients and prospects participated in the ten-minute survey, which was fielded from 17 November, 2020 to 11 December, 2020.

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