Customer Experience and Design

Growth in Telemedicine and Remote Monitoring

This is an exciting time for healthcare technology. We are literally witnessing a transformation in the way that care is delivered, and technology is taking center stage. I have read a number of reports in just the past week about the rise in telehealth, mobile health, and remote patient monitoring. One report showed that the remote patient monitoring market will reach $9.3B by 2014. Another report shows that doctors are using video chat for patient visits. Growth in these “virtual visits” are most common for psychiatrists and oncologist, which shows this form of delivery is not just for urgent visits. Rather, they are becoming a part of routine medical care. Mobile Health also plays an important role in education, outbreak tracking, and preventative medicine as well.

It is easy to get caught up in the mystique of these new delivery options while forgetting that these technologically advanced doctor visits are cost effective as well. Remote patient monitoring provides healthcare organizations with a healthcare delivery model that reduces costs and increases the amount of patients a healthcare practice can see, which increases financial effectiveness. They have been shown to have environmental benefits as well. Kaiser Permanente claims to have saved 92,000 tons of carbon dioxide by replacing face-to-face visits with virtual visits.

Of course, mobile and telehealth innovation do not come without concern. Some of the main concerns are HIPAA security, malpractice liability, and changes in the way that payments are received from patients. Many of these concerns, and solutions to them, were referenced in an earlier post, “The Future of Social Media in Healthcare“. My main concern is the lack of fully interoperable electronic medical record systems that will inhibit the growth in remote patient monitoring technology into the future. Without fully interoperable medical records, healthcare providers will be struck by the incapacity afforded to them by siloed patient data. This was the topic of a white paper we recently published called “Could EMR Software be Detrimental to Healthcare?” Check it out on our Interoperability page where we also discuss the importance of HL7 Interoperability.

So, what are your thoughts on the growth of this new healthcare delivery model?

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