The year ahead for the ATA, telemedicine
May 6, 2013 in Medical Technology
Telemedicine as we know it has been around for almost 50 years. It has moved from humble beginnings as an experimental curiosity delivering rural healthcare to become something on track for mainstream acceptance across the healthcare system.
This growth curve has accelerated dramatically in the past few years with the introduction of new technologies, new applications and particularly with the birth of the wireless world and a newfound familiarity and acceptance of technology by the general populace. As the United Nations reported earlier this year, more than 6 billion people worldwide now have access to cell phones (compared to only 4.5 billion with access to toilets!)
In the year ahead, the interests of providers, health organizations, vendors, policy makers and the public all seem uniquely aligned to make this a year of exponential growth for telemedicine.
But you already know that. What is both more interesting and subtle is the how and why of this growth trajectory.
I’ve put together what I think are the four big themes that will dominate telemedicine in the coming year.
Telemedicine is a key enabler for health system transformation. This is the year that healthcare planners everywhere realize telemedicine must be a fundamental part of their plans. We are living longer, but with an increasing burden of chronic disease. Healthcare systems everywhere are stretched to the max trying to deliver quality care that they can pay for.
This has resulted in immense creativity from payers and providers alike, many of whom now realize that virtual healthcare – telemedicine – is a key enabler for many of their ideas.
Think of new initiatives like ACOs, Medicare re-admission penalties and the medical home –programs that need telemedicine at their core – including telehomecare, remote monitoring, text messaging, videoconferencing and eConsultation. Many innovative organizations already get this and are implementing telemedicine services on a large scale.
This is the year that telemedicine becomes a fundamental enabler of innovation as people work to transform the healthcare system.
From telemedicine anywhere to telemedicine everywhere. Telemedicine began with hardware-based videoconferencing systems, private networks and telephone call centers, important pillars that still remain.
However, in the last decade, advances in technology have enabled new channels for telemedicine. The Internet, tablets, smart phones, remote monitoring, wireless applications and devices – even an ICU in a band-aid or wrist watch. We have software that enables patients to connect with their providers using many different channels and we are starting to see decision support and analytics to supplement human interaction. We are truly capable of delivering telemedicine services anywhere.
Article source: http://www.healthcareitnews.com/news/year-ahead-ata-telemedicine