Bet on videoconferencing growth before PHR ubiquity

Last week, I reported in InformationWeek on a Manhattan Research study showing that 7 percent of U.S. physicians were chatting with patients via videoconference. What the research didn’t say is how many consultations actually take place by videoconferencing. My guess is that it’s minuscule, but virtual visits will soon become commonplace.

According to Australian online healthcare community eHealthSpace, technology vendor Siemens is forecasting that 20 percent of all medical consultations in Australia will take place online by 2020. Much of that growth will come from rural and remote areas of a vast country that’s full of remote, sparsely populated areas.

I find that much more believable than another Siemens prediction that 90 percent of Aussies will have a “personally controlled electronic healthcare record” (whatever that means) by 2020. I’m guessing that videoconferencing with doctors will boom long before there’s widespread adoption of any health record controlled by patients.