The future of healthcare
Technology’s been creeping up in every industry and becoming increasingly relevant in healthcare. With technology, healthcare providers have the ability to tackle challenges that have been plaguing the industry for years. With the help of telemedicine, providers are able to provide safe, accessible, cost-effective, and convenient health care domestically and globally.
The application of telemedicine are examples of how healthcare providers and governments can use technology to develop new medical services that were once impossible. Telemedicine allows providers to provide quality diagnostics and treatment that will improve patient well-being among all demographics — particularly traditionally disadvantaged groups and under served communities.
What’s Telemedicine and Telehealth?
The World Health Organization has adopted the following definition written in 1998:
“The delivery of health care services, where distance is a critical factor, by all health care professionals using information and communication technologies for the exchange of valid information for diagnosis, treatment and prevention of disease and injuries, research and evaluation, and for the continuing education of health care providers, all in the interests of advancing the health of individuals and their communities”
In short, telemedicine allows healthcare providers to evaluate, diagnose, and treat individuals remotely using various forms technology. Telemedicine is increasingly becoming an integral part of healthcare infrastructures, particularly in developed countries such as the United States.
Telehealth includes a number of services designed to provide patient care and healthcare delivery in a broad perspective that includes not only clinical services, but also education for providers (ex. continuing education) and patients (ex. health promotion), the facilitation of administrative functions, and other public health services.
Telemedicine refers specifically to processes and secure technology used to provide clinical services and care to patients — such as evaluation, diagnosis, treatment, care follow-up, chronic condition and medication management, specialty consultations.
The initial applications of telemedicine were originally focused on providing medical care to patients in remote areas that did not have access to healthcare providers or essential technology for diagnosis and treatment.
Telemedicine has the incredible potential to expand access to quality care and provide basic medical treatment to entire populations. It also the potential to reduce overall health care expenditures, increase patient engagement and higher continuity of care across platforms which results in an overall increase of quality patient care.
The Telemedicine Market
Telemedicine is transforming how healthcare is being delivered and there are a number of companies and organizations who are re-imagining how medicine is practiced and are driving the industry forward with innovative solutions.
According to market reports, the telemedicine industry has the potential growth of 20.8% by 2020 with a market of $86.6 billion.
Imagine about a hundred years ago, physicians were using leeches and sawing off limbs to stop infection from spreading. Today, we have antibiotics and surgery. There is no question that telemedicine will be part of the future of medical science.