Telemedicine market is very uneven. A lot of people have no proper access to medical care due to various reasons. It is particularly difficult for residents of remote areas or regions with unstable or poor economies. However, enhancements in telemedicine technology are helping patients to connect with healthcare providers using mobile devices. At the same time, more healthcare professionals receive support in utilizing remote treatment.
The study conducted by Global communications and consulting company Mercom Capital Group shows that in general, telemedicine and remote monitoring organizations raised 660 million USD in venture capital funding by dint of 86 deals in 2016. For comparison, 93 million USD went to 46 worldwide telehealth deals just four years ago.
The telemedicine market is gaining its momentum and in the U.S. telemedicine organizations will shortly be able to be in a legal competition countrywide. Let’s take a look at how telemedicine software solutions could help everyone.
1. Remote Patient Monitoring
Sometimes named “home telemedicine”, remote patient monitoring allows clinicians to check patients’ state of health using various healthcare devices. It may be a device at patients’ homes which checks the vital signs, such as blood pressure or glucose level, and report results directly to the doctor. This kind of tool is particularly in demand among people with chronic diseases or those who are recovering after discharging from a clinic.
Remote patient monitoring allows doctors to contact patients more often, notice potential warning signs well in advance, and offer better treatment to a patient. Furthermore, for the elderly or those who are recovering from a major injury or disease, coming to a doctor’s office could be difficult or impossible.
The variety of remote monitoring applications and devices lets people who are under treatment share the data about their health with clinicians and keep relatives, caregivers and keeping doctors always informed about patient’s health.
Here are some of the devices that forward information to clinicians and let patients monitor their health:
- wearable fitness tracker
- connected scale
- sleep tracker
- connected blood pressure monitor
2. Store-and-Forward Telemedicine
These solutions are commonly in use across-the-board. They let patients and clinicians forward health data like images, information on vital, signs, videos of patients, to the appropriate medical specialist to have a consultation or get a diagnosis.
A primary care physician, for example, may spot some cough which has to be treated by an otolaryngologist. Then he has can take a photograph of the patient and use a secure store-and-forward telemedicine software to transfer the image and the EHR to the otolaryngologist. This kind of telemedicine makes the provision of medical services more efficient, particularly in localities with a limited number of medical professionals.
3. Real-Time Telemedicine
In contradistinction to the two previous categories of telemedicine software solutions, real-time telemedicine is intended for real-time interaction between a patient and a doctor. It might be a chat room, telephone call, online video conference, you name it.
Since this category of telemedicine prompts a patient and a doctor to arrange schedules, this is much like an in-person visit. In the majority of cases, the doctor can turn to the patient’s history, the live video or other visual information that the patients provide on a par with their notes.
It lets diagnose the patients and treat them remotely. Some real-time telemedicine software might also make part of mobile medical devices to scan a patient’s vital signs or other health information in place of a checkup.
What Would the Nearest Future of Telemedicine Market Look Like?
The future begins today and we already have some amazing examples of how the telemedicine market makes people’s lives better.
Instead of connecting people to a clinician they have never seen before, Austin-based Medici promises that it can bridge patients to all the clinicians they ever visited via text or video through an application. Medici raised 24 million USD last year and is growing worldwide. Having been launched in the U.S. and South Africa, the company plans to expand to 20 countries while already serving 30 million South Africans will be called up to become a user of Medici.
Moalej in Saudi Arabia connects patients in a need of home care with qualified healthcare professionals in the area. While visiting a patient is still a necessity, the communications in between became much easier. Moreover, patients can choose a doctor building a deeper trustworthy relationship which positively affects the treatment and recovery process.
It’s obvious there are still many problems to sort out — the laws, security, ethical issues, etc. — however, as telemedicine develops we expect incredible results. Yet, new tech is constantly entering the market, and progress in augmented reality, biotech, and wearables are going to improve healthcare services further.