Telehealth Business Case for Cable Operators

By  Sudheer Dharanikota, Ayarah Dharanikota, Dennis Edens, Bruce McLeod

December 21, 2021

What is the Problem?

How big is the Telehealth opportunity for cable operators? What are the financial considerations from revenue and cost points of view?

Key Takeaways

We make the following recommendations to operators:

  • Telehealth opens door for multiple stakeholders
  • Profitability will reach 100s of billions
  • Operators need to build inter-industry collaborations.
  • Their reward depends on the amount of risk the operators are willing to take.

Executive Summary

As the years have progressed in the US, the amount of healthcare spending has also significantly risen. In 2018, it reached upwards of $3.6 Trillion [1]. One way to combat that spending is the use of Telehealth (TH) solutions. Telehealth is the idea of using telecommunication services to provide healthcare to any individual regardless of location. It can encompass everything from physician visits to educational tools, but at its heart Telehealth depends on the progress telecom operators have made.

This past year during COVID-19, we have seen a 175x increase in Telehealth adoption [2]. COVID has highlighted the many benefits of Telehealth:

  • Saving travel/visit cost
  • Less travel time
  • Safer to take visits from home

Telehealth not only impacts the individual patient, but also family homes, elders, caregivers, and healthcare providers. Each of these stakeholders has its place in Telehealth and are key players when considering how to enter the market or when creating solutions. However, with the explosion in Telehealth needs during the pandemic the space has also become highly fragmented with few unifying solutions. MSOs have a chance to unify the Telehealth space.

Since MSOs have already developed infrastructure for audio/video communication, smart devices, IoT, etc. they already have a leg up on other companies. To expand beyond just the basic needs, we have defined four offerings for MSOs to consider:

  • Basic Telehealth: Basic Telehealth offered services that would help maintain audio or video communication between patients and providers. The goal is to provide services to users regardless of location.
  • Security: A Security offering is dependent on the security level needed. One needs to consider if Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) or Protected Health Information (PHI) plays a role in the offering.
  • Analytics: The Analytics offering would provide analysis and visualization of medical data.
  • Install and Support (IandS): Providing an IandS offering is dependent on the individual stakeholders’ needs.

Each of these offerings considers MSO’s current and future capabilities while addressing the need of the market. They are innately flexible so that they can be changed around to fit whatever model the MSO company sees fit for themselves. From our research, we were able to project the market size, revenue, cost, and profits. The cost areas we considered were premise, service offering, operations, training, and overhead cost. From these projections in 2030, operators could see around $109.5Bn in profits.

MSOs have a competitive advantage with their established customer base, communication infrastructure, hosting/analytics capabilities, and support structures. With strategic partnerships in the Telehealth space, operators have a low barrier to entry while being able to quickly capture a large Telehealth market. Not only will operators have a chance to expand their portfolio, but also create a valuable healthcare impact in this growing market

Key Words: Telehealth, TH, Telecom for Healthcare, Unified Communications, Data Hosting