Direct to Consumer Telemedicine

  • Tania ElliottEmail author
  • Jennifer Shih
Telemedicine and Technology (J. Portnoy & M. Hernandez, Section Editors)
Part of the following topical collections:
  1. Topical Collection on Telemedicine and Technology


Purpose of Review

Telemedicine uses technology to connect patients and data with providers at a distance. Direct to consumer telemedicine is a rapidly growing segment of the industry.

Recent Findings

The telehealth market has skyrocketed in recent years, making it a multi-billion dollar industry. Direct to consumer telehealth, dominated by the for-profit private sector, is the most popular form.


Direct to consumer telemedicine is a subset of telehealth that shows promise in increasing access to and engagement in medical care. Quality assurance, reimbursement, and regulatory oversight are important factors in assuring appropriate widespread adoption.


Telemedicine Telehealth Health technology Remote care Video visit Virtual care Digital health 


Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

Dr. Elliott reports that Doctor on Demand was a previous employer. Dr. Shih is a consultant for Teva.

Human and Animal Rights and Informed Consent

This article does not contain any studies with human or animal subjects performed by any of the authors.


Papers of particular interest, published recently, have been highlighted as: •• Of major importance

  1. 1.
    Transparency Market Research. Telehealth market: global industry analysis, size, share, growth trends, and forecast 2017–2025 Mar 2018p1–2240 Rep Id: TMRGL41591 accessed 11/1/18.Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Edmunds M, Tuckson R, Lewis J, et al. An emergent research and policy framework for telehealth. EGEMS (Wash DC). 2017;5(2):1303. Scholar
  3. 3.
    National Business Group on Health. Large Employers’ 2018 Health Care Strategy and Plan Design Survey, date accessed 11/1/18.Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    American Telemedicine Association 2017 National Executive Leadership Survey date accessed 11/1/18.Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    Interstate Medical Licensure Compact.; date accessed 11/1/18.
  6. 6.
    Ragone N. Reimagining healthcare marketing: direct-to-consumer approach. Beckers Hospital Review. Sept 25 2017;; date accessed 10/30/18.
  7. 7.
    Macrae J, Morris T. Foreword from acting administrator of the health resources and services administration (HRSA) and associate administrator of the federal office of rural health policy (FORHP), U.S. department of health and human services. J Health Care Poor Underserved. 2016;27:vii–viii. Project MUSE,
  8. 8.
    •• Welch BM, Harvey J, O’Connell NS, McElligott JT. Patient preferences for direct-to-consumer telemedicine services: a nationwide survey. BMC Health Serv Res. 2017;17(1):784. Important article highlighting patient preferences for DTC telemedicine. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. 9.
  10. 10.
  11. 11.
    Portnoy JM, Waller M, De Lurgio S, Dinakar C. Telemedicine is as effective as in-person visits for patients with asthma. Ann Allergy Asthma Immunol. 2016;117(3):241–5.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. 12.
    Bodenheimer T. Coordinating care—a perilous journey through the health care system. N Engl J Med. 2008;358(10):1064–71.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. 13.
  14. 14., date accessed 11/1/18.
  15. 15., date accessed 11/1/18.
  16. 16.
    Kruppinski A, et al. Access medicine. Understanding telehealth. Date accessed 10/31/18 based on data from Uscher-Pines L, Mehrotra A. Analysis of Teladoc use seems to indicate expanded access to care for patients without prior connection to a provider. Health Aff (Millwood). 2014;33(2):258–64.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. 17.
  18. 18.
  19. 19.
    •• Resneck JS, Abrouk M, Steuer M, et al. Choice, transparency, coordination, and quality among direct-to-consumer telemedicine websites and apps treating skin disease. JAMA Dermatol. 2016;152(7):768–75. Important article highlighting variability in quality and accuracy of skin disease diagnoses via asynchronous telemedicine. CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  20. 20.
  21. 21.
    Halpren-Ruder D, Chang AM, Hollander JE, Shah A. Quality assurance in telehealth: adherence to evidence-based indicators. Telemed J E Health. 2018 Aug 2.Google Scholar
  22. 22.
  23. 23.
    •• Uscher-Pines L, Mulcahy A, Cowling D, et al. Access and quality of care in direct to consumer telemedicine. Telemed J E Health. 2016;22(4):282–7. Important article highlighting quality of care in telemedicine services. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. 24.
    •• Elliott T, Shih J. American college of allergy, asthma, and immunology position paper on the use of telemedicine for allergists. Ann Allergy Asthma Immunol. 2017;1119:512–7. Important position paper on the use of telemedicine for allergists. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. 25.
    LeRouge C, Garfield M, Hevner A. Patient perspectives of telemedicine quality. Patient Prefer Adherence. 2015;9:25–40.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  26. 26.
    Halpren-Ruder D, Chang AM, et al. Quality assurance in telehealth: adherence to evidence-based indicators. Telemed J E Health. 0:0.Google Scholar
  27. 27.
    Shih J, Portnoy J. Tips for seeing patients via telemedicine. Curr Allergy Asthma Rep. 2018;18:50.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. 28.
    Staicu ML, Holly AM, Conn KM, Ramsey A. The use of telemedicine for penicillin allergy skin testing. J Allergy Clin Immunol Pract. 2018.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.NYU Langone Health and Bellevue Hospital CenterNew YorkUSA
  2. 2.Emory UniversityAtlantaUSA

Personalised recommendations