I just finished reading a very interesting post by Nuviun Digital Health, from September 23rd, 2014. It was entitled “Telemedicine Cuts Costs and Improves Outcomes in Chronic Disease Management”
I recommend reading it, to really get a quick overview of how remote presence medicine, or Telemedicine ( or mobile health, mHealth) is really having an impact in healthcare today. We are not talking so much about “potential”any longer, but about real progress and factual changes in outcomes BECAUSE of the use of this modalities.
As you all know, I’m a big proponent of the smart use and application of technology in Healthcare. I think that as communication technology exponentially evolves, and devices are becoming faster, smaller, less expensive and more user-friendly, they allow us to connect and communicate better in our daily lives. People use video-conference calls more commonly, rather that bringing their phones to their ears to just “hear’ someone, when instead they can “hear and see” the other person.
If this is the case in non-medical settings, it is just intuitive that professional disciplines like medicine, should make use of the same tools to improve the way we care for patients, the way we connect to providers, seek advice and provide expertise.
The device industry is barely waking up, and what we are seeing now is only the “tip of the iceberg”. Wearable devices like Google Glass, Epson Moverio, etc. are only examples of what is there to come, the first steps in the natural evolution of the platform of choice to connect and communicate ( Natural Evolution Up to GoogleGlass http://youtu.be/Psq-T2O0LDs )
Early developers, most of whom I had shared views and perspectives with, several months ago, such as Pristine (@PristineIO ), Augmedix (AugmedixINC ) and Droidres (@Droiders ), among others, are the true pioneers and visionaries of how this intuitive way to communicate could improve the interaction between providers-patients and the medical record, hence permitting a more fluid conversation which should allow for better care and outcomes.
It is well accepted that Telemedicine and mHealth have clear roles in the setting of chronic disease. I argue that it has a place as important in the improvement of acute care issues. Back in 2009, we at EMMC showed that a telemedicine program was well accepted by patients, referring and consulting providers, and that the potential for dollar savings and improved outcomes was real.
( https://www.facs.org/~/media/files/publications/bulletin/2011/2011%20june%20bulletin.ashx )
Be it in the non-emergent situations, chronic diseases (COPD, HTN, Heart disease or stroke, to name a few) or in the life-threatening conditions and moments, when a provider needs an answer quickly, or when an expert wants to share his or her insights to improve the patient’s care and potentially save a life, the role of wearable HUD (head up displays) telecommunication devices to improve the process of communicating remotely is plainly obvious.
The way I see it, why use a written letter when you can use the phone? Why use a land-line telephone when you can use a smartphone? Why use a smartphone when you can use a video-phone? It just makes sense, despite the demands of proof, evidence, data or ROI.
This is just the beginning. Innovation in Healthcare is happening fast and it is unstoppable. Unstoppable because the current state of our system is unsustainable, due, among other factors, to exorbitant cost, lack of access, deficient communication and connectivity among key players (read provider-provider-patient-regulators-administrators and industry!) and shortage of expertise.
The smart application of technology can help us with this.