We are in the age of rapid technological development and so it’s no surprise that the Proliferation of Digital Healthcare Applications has continued to rise in the healthcare industry. One of the high points of technology is that even unimaginable ideas are beginning to become a reality. There has been a plethora of healthcare technology that has flooded the market but not all have been able to survive. Some, on the other hand, have thrived and have seen more and more individuals in the industry adopt it. One of those is Telemedicine.
The Rise of Telemedicine
Thanks to technology, there has been great strides achieved in the field of medicine that has led to better population health, increased life expectancy, reduced mortality rate and the eradication of some diseases. However, this great healthcare and medical services are not easily accessible to a lot of people. Growing populations increased regulation, high-costs etc are some of the things that contribute to healthcare professionals not being able to meet the needs of is many patients is possible. This is why Telemedicine has piqued the interest of those in the industry.
As in any emerging field, especially one as highly regulated ss healthcare, approvals, and further research is needed. Industry leaders, researchers, scientists and many other decision makers in the healthcare industry, believe that telemedicine adds a much-needed advantage to the practice of medicine. Telemedicine is expected to not only change but also revolutionize the relationship between health and technology.
This increased interest in telemedicine is also reflected in the numbers. Mobile monitoring devices both existing and yet-to-be-developed could help combat the global healthcare crisis. The global telemedicine market is expected to grow at an 18%+ CAGR from 2016 through 2022.
Telemedicine can be defined is the process of using telecommunication devices to remotely diagnose, implement, and execute medical treatment plans for patients. With telemedicine, doctors, can communicate with patients and monitor a patient’s health remotely, using the telemedicine technology. Telemedicine has a multitude of applications for the ongoing monitoring of a patient’s health.
Advantages of Telemedicine
The advantages of this are enormous and surpasses borders. For example, a huge application of telemedicine has been in its international use. Doctors using telemedicine have been able to give care to patients in countries that otherwise would not have access to that quality of care. Doctors can observe and diagnose patients thousands of miles away without the stress and costs of traveling to their country. Also within countries is well doctors are able to attend to and treat patients who cannot travel to get care. Telemedicine helps eliminate this barrier of distance and travel costs by allowing assessments, diagnosis, and monitoring to take place remotely.
Setbacks of Telemedicine
Many proponents against telemedicine argue that i removes the human element of caregiving which is a very important element. They also argue that it could lead to an even higher number of medical mistakes being made because the doctor is not there in person.
However, while telemedicine doesn’t completely remove the human element—specialized physicians still can only address one patient at a time for so many hours a day, and health care professionals are still needed to administer treatment to patients in-person—it helps remove some of the geographical challenges preventing widespread access to various types of health care.
Another major setback or roadblock in the way of telemedicine is the need for a uniform regulatory body. As I mentioned above, getting through the hurdles of regulation is one issue for telemedicine and this is even made more complicated by the lack of uniform regulations across borders. This includes both national and state borders. Holding a medical license in one country or one state doesn’t mean that that license is valid in another country or state. This makes it difficult to remotely diagnose or monitor patients in a country or state that’s different from that of the administering physician.
Acceptance of Telemedicine
Many clinicians are reluctant to adopt this new technology because of how out of the norm it seems.
A recent study by researchers at the University of Texas Medical School in Houston looked at the impact of telemedicine on patients in the intensive care unit. Although the researchers had initially set out to study telemedicine effect on mortality, complications and the length of stay of patients in five different hospitals, they inadvertently discovered the extent to which clinicians were reluctant to incorporate this technological change.
This study was set to suit the needs of the patients to the maximum. And thus, the patients could choose the degree of care the remote specialist provided and how frequently. There were also physicians on the ground. If the patient’s physician wanted only minimal remote direct involvement, the remote clinicians would offer care only during unexpected life-threatening emergencies, like sudden drops in blood pressure or acute bleeding. If the regular physicians wanted maximum involvement, the remote clinicians would work together with the on-site doctors and give routine orders and change treatment plans.
As regulations evolve along with the practical applications of telemedicine the demand and acceptance of it is a form of providing healthcare will improve. Telemedicine is one part of a booming intersection between technology and healthcare. Other forms are also growing like the rise in the market for mobile health devices and personal health trackers. The development of new technologies to perfect remote diagnostics, monitoring, and treatment will be necessary and will be in high demand.