Telemedicine will be a fertile area for medical product design. The two biggest challenges in telemedicine right now are the difficulty in getting reimbursement for telehealth services and barriers created by inadequate cross-state licensing.
From the Telemedicine breakout session at CONVERGE 2012:
It’s difficult to get reimbursement for telemedicne practice because its benefits are as yet unproven. Brian Dear, CEO of iCouch, a company that is trying to democratize mental health care via telemedicine platforms, contends that it is just a matter of time until the efficacy of telemedicine is proven, at which time insurers will be happy to pay for it if it reduces cost.
Brian also noted that the potential of telemedicine is being held back because of the ramifications stemming from the fact that telemedicine can easily extend beyond state boundaries. Because each state has its own requirements for medical licensure, there is uncertainty about the licensure requirements when the telemedicine provider is in one state and the patient is in another. Regulations need to change in order to permit this.