Telemedicine, defined as the use of telecommunications technology to deliver medical information or services to patients or other users at a distance from the provider, is a rapidly growing field of clinical medicine.
Many macroeconomic elements are in favor of the industry. The aging population has resulted in an increase in demand of healthcare service. In addition, the rising middle-income class also requires better healthcare service. However, there is a short supply of high quality healthcare providers globally. The imbalance of supply and demand further increase the cost of healthcare service.
The global telemedicine market is expected to grow from $16.3 billion in 2013 to $19.2 billion in 2014 and $43.4 billion in 2019 at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 17.7% over the next five years.
Founded in 2002, Teladoc is the largest telemedicine company in the U.S. The company uses telephone and video conferencing to provide remote health consultation to patients around the states.
Teladoc is able to tackle three fundamental issues in healthcare industry: access, cost, and quality. Patients are not longer needed to wait for months to see a doctor. You are able to schedule a phone call with a premium doctor 24/7 anywhere. The Teladoc also reduces costs for patients and hospitals. For only $35 per visit (plus a one-time fee of $18 and a monthly membership fee ranging from $4.25 for an individual to $7 for a family) , you reduced hundreds of out-of-pocket expenses when visiting hospital / ER. Last but not the least, Teladoc employs high quality certified physicians, who has some spare times outside their normal working hours.
Users of Teladoc mainly consist of those who are under 51 years old without chronic diseases and there are 10.6 million members by Q1 of 2015.  In addition, Teladoc has an enterprise-focused business model and members include many worlds’ fortune companies. Many major insurance companies are also using the services to cut costs by bringing doctors and patients together outside of hospitals.
1). Technical. The telemedicine is not currently integrated into existing systems and procedures. There is a big investment need to make to build up infrastructure and reliable network.
2). Financial. Teladoc has had many years of double-digit sales growth, however, the company currently has a negative operating profit. This is primary driven by low utilization rate and volume.
3). Legal risk. There are still some legal and regulatory restrictions in some states. For example, the Texas Medical Board tried to limit access to Teladoc by requiring a face-to-face visit before physician are allowed to prescribe medication to patients. 
4). Service quality. The biggest concern for patients is if they will receive the same quality of service as they visit a doctor in person. There is a large liability issues in the telemedicine industry. If an error occurs during several consultation sessions, it is unclear which health professional bears responsibilities.
In The Future
The lack of market awareness has been an impediment to the growth of telemedicine among healthcare providers as well as potential patients. It is important for Teladoc to build trust between patients and physicians and attract more users to use the platform. To address liabilities issues, insurers need to be willing to underwrite these risks and providers seeking to offer remote care should acquaint themselves with relevant law. Obamacare is also another important factors for Teladoc’s recent growth. The law puts pressure on the entire healthcare system to reduce costs. Similar policy needs to continue support the future growth of telemedicine industry.
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