Campbell, CA –The rise of digital telehealth is upon us. IHS Technology predicts that the number of users of telehealth will rise to 7 million by 2018, up from 350,000 in 2013. And a report by Research and Markets predicts that the global market for telehealth services will rise by 18.5% during that time.
The purpose of this explosion toward the digital realm is primarily due to cost. By utilizing the latest advances in network technologies and connected devices, practices can use telemedicine to handle many patients outside of the exam room. By meeting patients at this new point of care, the goal is to improve patient outcomes and reduce hospital admissions, ultimately lowering healthcare costs.
As we continue to see the shift to mobile apps and engagement, the more involved patients are embracing the virtual visit and associated benefits. The top noted are reminders (40%), drug and side-effect information (30%), and discounts for drug related products (28%). Privacy was the biggest deterrent for technology adoption for mobile care, siting that 39% of patients don’t trust internet sites to keep their information secure.
While predictive studies can be done and future models are analyzed, the public opinion is always valuable to see how new technologies are being adopted. A study by Cisco, a leading technology provider for telehealth medicine, revealed that 74% of consumers are willing to participate in a virtual meeting with their doctor. In fact, in a more recent study by NTT Data, a survey showed that 76% of patients would choose telehealth over human contact.
A company called Vital Connect is developing products to capitalize on this trend. Their goal is to create the most accurate wearable device that is FDA approved. There is certainly no shortage of wearable devices that track your heart rate and sync to your phone, but Vital Connect aims to make its device as small and unobtrusive as possible. The device, which wirelessly connects vital statistics to your cell phone, is also disposable, just like the band-aids in your medicine cabinet.
AdhereTech is using teleheath and remote monitoring to improve adherence. Their smart pill bottles track and provide data in real time. Patients can receive alerts when they fall off track by receiving an automatic phone call or text message.
Zipnosis is tackling the ever-difficult challenge of online diagnosis. Their on-demand software takes the waiting out of the waiting room by virtually providing a diagnosis for common ailments right through your smartphone.