An example of a new entrant is San Francisco-based CellScope Inc., which markets technology that turns a smartphone into a digital otoscope. The technology allows parents to conduct diagnostics at home to determine whether a child has an ear infection.
Connolly says CellScope decided against working with payers entirely on its CellScope Oto product. "They are hoping to market that directly with consumers," she says.
An intriguing new-entrant partnership has been formed between Oakland, CA-based Kaiser Permanente and retailer giant Walmart. In California, the companies are opening Kaiser Permanente Care Corners, where patients can have a private teleconference with a doctor or nurse, with a vocational nurse on-site to collect vital signs and other data that can be sent to Kaiser Permanente physicians. The Care Corners sites also generate referrals and offer medical advice for conditions including asthma, diabetes, and joint pain.
Kauffman said providers and payers alike should take notice of the way new entrants are utilizing telemedicine. "This is here to stay," he said. "It's important for all the stakeholders to get together and figure out how … to deliver some of these telemedicine solutions."
Meeting new capacity and expectations
Brian Kim, senior vice president of account management at Southboro, MA-based ikaSystems, says the PwC report's findings reflect what he is seeing in the marketplace. "Of course there are going to be these new entrants. People want to get into this business because there is tremendous opportunity."
Christopher Cheney is the senior clinical care editor at HealthLeaders.