AcuteCare Telemedicine Blog


Is Telemedicine and Telehealth the Future of Healthcare Delivery?

With the global telemedicine market predicted to soar past the $30 billion mark by 2020 it is becoming increasingly difficult to overestimate the impact telemedicine, or it’s broader application telehealth, is about to have on the broader healthcare delivery model. Much of the considerable focus of discussions thus far has been about the effects of virtual technology on the safety and quality of service to patients, the creation of new methods of payment for virtual services rendered and massaging the concerns of the industries evaluators and licensors. But the ongoing advance of mobility and affordability of communication technology is opening up vast new opportunities to apply telemedical technology to a much larger spectrum of healthcare delivery.

It is true that even if the whole of telemedicine’s promise were to be fully realized, it is likely never to completely replace the face to face relationship between the healer and the afflicted. But with the rising cost of healthcare, anticipated physician shortages and a general increase in demand for healthcare, virtual medical care is attracting a much wider audience of support across the medical care industry. In a recent Wall Street Journal report on private equity firms, investors are increasingly interested in investing in the health-care sector, creating a tipping point for a newer early stage virtual healthcare industry. Until recently the technology, devices, applications, operating platforms and processes have been the elements receiving most of the attention, but with the increasing appearance of virtual telehealth centers at shopping malls and big box retailers, it may be time to expand our thinking on just how dramatic the disruption on the industry will be.

Some well-established healthcare systems are now facing a decision on where to most effectively invest their capital. Should it be in traditional brick and mortar facilities or in the newest telehealth information technology? While advancement of diagnostic technology and ground breaking progress in treatment options has been common in the industry for decades, the “hard” methods of engaging patients by the healer has seen little change since the “industrialization” period of healthcare more than a half-century ago. As mobile health monitoring devices become more reliable and capable, patients with chronic diseases are being monitored, evaluated and often treated without leaving the confines of their home or work areas, reducing the usefulness of centralized physical structures used to connect and treat patients with chronic diseases. Advances in surgical robotics, techniques and technology has resulted in less invasive surgeries being “off-loaded” from heavily supported hospital based surgical suites into less costly outpatient surgical facilities.

Telemedicine has made significant changes in delivery models for clinical and acute care in the last 5 years and is certain to provide expanded application and creative solutions for meeting challenges across the whole of the healthcare delivery spectrum. It’s time to expand our vision for utilizing communication technology in the delivery of healthcare. Telemedicine and telehealth is the future of healthcare delivery.



Affordable Healthcare, On the Go

With the continually rising costs associated with healthcare in the U.S., two new reports suggest the market for telemedicine is poised to grow more than threefold within the next decade thanks to advances in wireless technologies in medical applications.

Mobile technology has paved the way for devices and infrastructure that are capable of mitigating healthcare costs by billions of dollars annually by reducing unnecessary hospitalizations and improving diagnostic and treatment efficiency. These telehealth solutions, many centered around wireless communications technologies, also help improve overall quality and timeliness of care administered, removing the traditional boundaries of distance and time in bringing patients and their doctors together over the web. Telemedicine ensures that patients receive the right care in the right setting to streamline the consultation process and fight excessive costs.

Telehealth has for some time now been proven as an effective means of delivering quality care, particularly to patients in underserved rural areas. Looking towards the future, practitioners are constantly gaining access to more powerful tools and increased mobility, reason to believe that telemedicine will extend more effective, more affordable healthcare to patients everywhere.

Already mobile technologies are steadily revolutionizing healthcare in a multitude of ways. In addition to patient consultation via communications platforms, the latest applications available to practitioners on smartphones, tablets, laptops, and other wireless devices can also help manage patient records, and encourage collaboration with other expert physicians.

Trends towards better technology and increased access to mobile platforms are fueling the rapid growth of telemedicine, which ultimately benefits both patients and providers. Just as mobile phones have given people the power to stay connected without the traditional landline, telemedicine is helping patients everywhere keep in touch with the quality care they deserve.