The hard truth is that telehealth’s future—its size, its contours—will depend a lot on what payers will be willing to pay for. Currently, commercial plans cover only a limited number of services. In addition, research suggests that there may be quality and utilization problems.
Workers still haven’t bought in. A lot hinges on this question: Do you feel comfortable getting a diagnosis or being treated for a condition by someone on a screen? Large employers especially are willing to bet that the answer is yes.
What we have here is irrational telehealth exuberance. Investors are plowing millions into startups. And even though millennials could be eager adopters, these are still early days for the industry. It may take years—and some regulatory changes—for profits to materialize.
When it’s time for a session, your therapist’s face is on your phone or computer instead of in the room. Telemental health doesn’t mean the end of in-person sessions, but it’s increasingly part of the therapy mix.