Telemedicine revolution is well underway

In our last blog we identified five areas in which treatment and care might revolutionised over the next few years. And in this post, we focus on what’s happening in one of the most exciting of these – telehealth. There really is a great deal happening with telemedicine, so if this is an area you are thinking of getting into, there is no time to lose.

As well as the pioneering approach of Marple Cottage Surgeryand the optimistic predictions for growth from Statista (that the total number of telehealth patients worldwide will reach seven million in 2018), there are many other developments that point to telehealth having really big potential.

In the US, the growth of telemedicine is already in full swing. According to figures published in April last year by HIMSS Analytics, 71% of healthcare providers in the US were already telehealth in some form or another. The technology is being used for training staff as well as diagnosis.

New applications and services are springing up all the time. For example, Call9 has recently launched the SNF Assist service – a patient care data platform that enables remotes monitoring of patients in nursing homes and uses analytics to make more informed decisions. Call9 has estimated that massive cost savings of between $10, 000 and $30,000 can be made in by treating patients in this way. 

With figures like this, it is easy to see why telemedicine would appeal to health organisations. 

The trend is taking hold worldwide in fact. The specialist telehealth company BitMED, has plans to make a free telemedicine service that makes use of blockchain and AI technologies available to people in parts of Central Asia, such as Mongolia, where access to healthcare is very poor.

In theory, such a service could be made available on a global scale, allowing doctors and specialists to consult patients anywhere in the world. 

Here at home, in addition to the pioneering work of Marple Cottage Surgery, we’ve already seen the setting-up of the Cumbria & Lancashire Telestroke service, in which a mobile telecart is taken to the patient bedside, allowing the clinician to conduct a remote consultation.

Telemedicine, in other words, is most definitely becoming a reality – all over the world and here in the UK. And while in some scenarios, quite sophisticated and bespoke solutions are needed (and security will always be paramount), in many, a simple video conferencing and collaboration solution could easily be adapted for telemedicine use. 

This is one revolution that has well and truly begun.