Doctor-patient video visits to triple to 16 million next year

By Brian Dolan
10:09 am

Apple FacetimeAccording to research firm Parks Associates the number of doctor-patient video consultations in the US will almost triple over the next year.

"The number of doctor-patient video consultations will nearly triple from this year to the next, from 5.7 million in 2014 to over 16 million in 2015, and will exceed 130 million in 2018," Harry Wang, Director, Health & Mobile Product Research, Parks Associates said in a recent statement.

The firm has also teased a number of other digital health metrics in recent weeks.

Parks said that 42 percent of households in the US with broadband services had used at least one online service offered to them by their physicians. The most commonly offered and used service was requesting a prescription refill online, according to the firm.

Nearly 30 percent of these US broadband households also own and use at least one connected health device, according to Parks. 

Parks also predicted recently that the number of connected digital trackers sold worldwide would double again in 2014 -- and top 22 million. The number sold in 2012 was 6.6 million by Parks' count and 13.6 million last year.

"Connected trackers will account for 52 percent of all digital fitness tracker unit sales in 2014 and reach 81 percent by 2018 (66 million units)," Wang said in a statement. "Smart watches are another wearables category poised for tremendous growth, with sales of almost 18 million units worldwide in 2014 and 121 million in 2018. These connected devices open new avenues for new fitness apps, health solutions, and data analytics."

Only 2 percent of US broadband households had bought a smartwatch in 2013 and another 4 percent are likely to buy one over the course of the next 12 months, Parks predicted based on a survey of 10,000 such households in the US during the first quarter of 2014. Within that small group of buyers, 20 percent bought their smartwatch right from its maker, 18 percent from Amazon, and 17 percent from Best Buy. Almost half of those with smartwatches had received it as a gift.