According to an analysis in a June 2021 global report from Renub Research—“Telemedicine Market, Global Forecast Impact of COVID-19, Industry Trends, Growth, Opportunity Company Overview, Financial Insight”—the global telemedicine market is projected to grow up to $218.49 billion by 2026. This projection considers that the key players in the telemedicine market have experienced exponential growth during the COVI9-19 pandemic compared with 2019, the most recent pre-pandemic year.

Telemedicine uses information and communication technologies (ICTs) to control international barriers and minimize patient surge on healthcare services. While this technology has mainly benefited rural and underserved communities in developing nations who lack access to traditional healthcare services, ICTs have the potential to address hurdles faced by all nations in providing cost-effective, high-quality care. As a result, the compound annual growth rate is forecasted to grow 21.4% by 2026.

As COVID-19 continues to place a strain on healthcare staff globally, virtual consultations are becoming the new normal. By 2020, the telemedicine market size was already estimated to be $68.36 billion. Developed regions, such as North America, and regional markets in Europe have seen increases due to continuous research and development initiatives, as well as acceptance of cloud-based technologies within individual countries, leading to growing healthcare awareness and opportunities. Developing areas—which include the Asia-Pacific region, the Middle East, and Africa, and the emerging economies in China and India—are expected to experience similar favorable growth, especially in rural areas.

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In the United States, according to a prediction by Peter Antall, MD, chief medical officer of Amwell, a telemedicine company, Congress will approve an extension of Medicare’s coverage and lift site restrictions related to telemedicine for “at least a few more years.” Despite concerns by academics and private insurers that telemedicine will encourage more people to seek care and thus raise Medicare spending, Dr. Antall believes that most large commercial players who have embraced telemedicine have realized cost savings and will continue to embrace such initiatives as a result.

The telemedicine market is also expected to become highly competitive during the forecasted period as start-ups seek aggressive growth opportunities in an area that is only moderately consolidated. Prominent market players include Bayer AG, CEVA, Inc., Eli Lilly and Company, Merck & Co. Inc., and Teladoc Health, Inc. With the launch of various platforms and the entry of new, massively funded participants, competition will continue to thrive.