Telemedicine paves the way for technologically advanced specialty care and high tech medication. From real time evaluations and consultations aided by ML to wearable IoT devices rigorously tracking and transmitting patient information remotely — a universe of new and growing cutting-edge technologies are put to significantly impact healthcare delivery in 2020 and beyond. However, finding the ideal tools remains the continuing challenge for physicians and physicians in private practice that are ready to find their way round telemedicine.
In this guide, we are going to shed light on which in-demand technologies are best to apply during the telemedicine program development so the work and resources taken to make a telehealth solution would warrant.
The most promising telemedicine use cases
Before we proceed to talking about the best technologies that could improve your telemedicine solution, let us first look into how electronic communication and information technologies are used in telemedicine. With the support of computers, mobile, and IoT apparatus, patients can manage their health by obtaining these services remotely. At exactly the exact same time, physicians can significantly enhance and encourage the healthcare provision and delivery. These are the most popular manners, where telemedicine, also known as eHealth or mHealth, can be manifested today:
Patient portals – an online patient portal is a useful tool used by patients to remain connected with their healthcare providers. It enables patients to view their test results, book appointments, request a prescription renewal or refill, and contact their physician or nurse. The portal can grow to be a more secure location for a client to talk about their personal medical information. Patient portals are an example of asynchronous telehealth modality in actions. Even though they effectively facilitate communication, the exchange of information doesn’t happen in real-time: information gathered at one stage is reacted to later on when it’s convenient for the recipient.
Private health apps – by simply using a mobile phone to get a telehealth app, individuals are able to better organize their health care information. With a personal wellness app, an individual can upload food logs and maintain a record of someone’s daily food intake, place pill reminders, and monitor medication ingestion. Having another IoT device paired with an app, users should expect to receive their opportunities expanded. Thus, by way of instance, these devices help capture blood glucose levels, heart rate, and several other medical parameters to send them for review by a nurse that responds electronically afterward. From this it follows that private health applications also belong in the group of asynchronous telemedicine programs. They aren’t live and are used primarily to store and transfer pictures, videos, and other clinical information that a healthcare provider views and reacts to in a later.
Virtual appointments – this sort of consultation is meant to enhance care coordination and communication among members of a health care team and a patient through an internet videoconference. Virtual appointments follow the synchronous modality of care. They occur in real time between the patient and health care provider. Appointments are generally scheduled in advance and need the smartphone, tabletcomputer, or computer using a camera and a mic. In rare instances, the consulting provider who conducts an evaluation might be found in a place besides the patient, and health care personnel — such as nurses or nursing assistants who are with the patient physically — uses peripheral medical equipment for more exact health assessment.
Remote health monitoring – technology can enable healthcare providers to monitor patients’ health remotely. This permits the direct communication of healthcare dimensions from a space to the medical provider both in real time and asynchronously. Remote health monitoring is supported by web-based or mobile apps and by apparatus measuring and transmitting health-related info. Presumably, when people monitor their own health, or it’s tracked automatically through medical IoT apparatus, the amount of in-person visits to doctors and inpatient stays can fall dramatically. Anyway, the clients themselves believe in the ability of remote health monitoring. In accordance with the study by Sony’s mSafety Wearable Platform Division, 90 percent of the respondents believe a technical remote health monitoring device can help them better manage chronic conditions. So, the possibility of the sphere of telemedicine is immense and have to be kept an eye on.
Doctor-to-doctor consultations – another way telemedicine can improve the quality of care delivered is cross-border distant second opinions that suppliers exchange during so-called doctor-to-doctor (i.e., peer-to-peer) consultations. During these second-opinion telehealth consultations, qualified health care providers can take better care of their patient’s well-being even if they work for different hospitals or work in private practice geographically far from one another. In any case, this is sometimes the only means to get a patient to legally get the second opinion in their condition from a skilled professional. In some countries, the direct doctor-to-patient e-consultations and treatment from overseas are forbidden, therefore a physician with a local permit can become a legal legal mediator to facilitate communication between the parties.
Top technology used in telemedicine and telehealth
Now that it’s clearer when technology can and should develop into a significant enhancement of the health care delivery process, let us find out what the most in-demand technology in telemedicine one must know about. It has to be emphasized, however, that these technological improvements remain relatively costly to implement. However, these increased costs can make a massive difference in how successful a given telehealth business is. They possess the potential to drive wise hospitals’ adoption, help clinics and single professionals alike to spend less, and offer the best service possible. The best results should be anticipated when combining them in one approach, but let us discuss one particular technology at a time to see what positive effect they bring. These technologies are:
- AI and Machine Learning
- Big Data
- The Web of Healthcare Matters (IoMT)
1. ) AI and Machine Learning
Even though Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning aren’t quite the exact same thing, it is going to make more sense to talk about them as one in the context of telemedicine.
AI is revolutionizing the healthcare industry so that both pharmaceutical and healthcare businesses keep realizing the benefits of AI. Broadly , it may significantly increase accuracy and efficiency throughout the board. AI algorithms can help analyze considerable amounts of medical data to improve the accuracy and speed of analysis. In part, it’s because of AI that telemedicine has become more than just using Skype for a physician and a patient to look each other in the eyes. An effective telemedicine solution means healthcare professionals may get enough medical information to accurately assess the individual’s health. And AI is here to help optimize the physician’s time and encourage the patient prior to the doctor steps in by providing direction to the consumer when collecting the data. The technology guides the individual in exactly the way to conduct the test and gather valid data and gives instant feedback on whether or not a photograph or a video clip taken by the user has high enough diagnostic quality. Additionally, it enables an auto-capture feature, helps deliver treatment on the patient’s side, and enables triage applications that doctors can use to the sequence in which patients need care.
The function of Machine Learning here is to derive insights from incoming blocks of information and enable healthcare providers to reach the right decisions faster. Because of this, the technology will augment human decision-making, take more mundane tasks, and help bring down medical expenses.
2. ) Blockchain
Blockchain technologies may be utilised in telemedicine to make sure profoundly secure data storage and transferring. Security is of utmost importance in the healthcare business, so suppliers must take every precaution to prevent breaches or leaks of sensitive health information and other patients’ information.
Blockchain is famous for its immutable ledger and cryptographic design. This all places the technology in a strong position to protect telemedicine services. Having all documents and transactions stored on blockchain, telehealth solution providers can address a number of the alarming challenges associated with online healthcare. First of all, protected, fragmented blockchain-enabled systems are a much better place to contain considerable quantities of data that doctors will need to access a comprehensive patient history. All medical records are signed and securely encrypted, which gives patients the assurance that their records will not be altered.
But before blockchain-driven telemedicine becomes a widely accepted practice among patients and health care professionals, numerous technological vulnerabilities and barriers must be addressed . These include the high cost, the lack of business experience, as well as the insufficiency of standardization.
As an example, HIPAA includes guidelines regarding data transfer security, which means data encryption with blockchain must also stay compliant. But at exactly the same time, these principles apply only to covered entities, not to patients. This lack of interoperability may lead to the restricted ability of platforms to link to one another. Nevertheless, as the advantages of blockchain for telehealth are becoming more widely recognized, all these challenges will likely be surpassed, and the robust cybersecurity will get a default property of each telemedicine solution.
3. Big Data
Substantial data technology help healthcare providers meet the objective of turning large volumes of data into actionable knowledge for the customization of health care within the frame of precision medication. Once all of the available data related to a patient’s health history is gathered, a physician can delve into the circumstance, see the huge comprehensive picture, and proceed with more exact decision-making and better-coordinated therapy.
The effects of big data analytical methods, platforms, and resources on health care organizations practicing telemedicine is immense. They permit the transition from the disease-centric version to the patient-centric one. From the view of large information, a patient-centric ecosystem involves cooperation between stakeholders such as insurers, medical professionals, service providers, and pharmacists who openly share information insights for the patient’s good. In any case, this personalized healthcare model may benefit from collaborative filtering — catching patients’ similarities (e.g., demographic information, family background, occupation, symptom, laboratory outcome, etc.) and providing proactive healthcare solutions in the context of large data.
Because of this, supported by ICT based mHealth, eHealth, Smart Health, and telehealth devices, large data technology exhibits ample possibility of streamlining such healthcare functions as disease surveillance, clinical decision support, and population health management. Meanwhile, the effect of big data in health care is becoming even more substantial as a result of emerging new sources of data such as social networking platforms, telematics, and wearable devices. This brings up an issue of the challenges the introduction of big data analytics in telemedicine entails. The majority of the challenges that using Big Data in telehealth poses arise in the private nature of the exchanged data and have legal and ethical nature. The popular demand for transparency can at times be at odds with the dangers to undermine privacy and personal freedom, in addition to concerns about the commercialization of information and using it against the interests of the people providing it. However, the longer large data technology is present on the telemedicine market, the easier it’ll be to overcome the barriers.
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4. The Internet of Healthcare Matters (IoMT)
Now we’ve arrived at perhaps the most crucial technology that you can possibly incorporate in their telemedicine solution the Web of healthcare Matters, or IoMT. With the forecasted worth exceeding US$ 136.8 billion by 2021 and reported 3.7 million IoMT devices now being used, the IoMT industry is fueled by a rise in the amount of suitable patient-centric connected medical devices that collect, analyze, and transmit data to health care IT systems.
IoMT-related technology products and services (telemedicine mobile apps) enable ongoing health status tracking and on-time discussion of almost any concerning issues with medical suppliers. IoMT is powered by a selection of medical devices which are equipped with wireless communication capabilities. This implies communicating among machines and between devices and cloud platforms where information is saved appears effortless to the human eye. Because of this, cardiac monitoring, blood pressure or glucose levels dimension, weight reduction, and a lot more healthcare-related tasks can grow to be no problem for everybody. IoMT also supplies chronic disease monitoring and overall bodily well-being improvement, as an example, by helping patients with degenerative diseases within their own exercises with the support of mobility detectors IoMT wearables are equipped with. To put it differently, the Internet of healthcare Things devices can enable individuals to analyze and report information without seeing a physician.
In general, the technology is gaining ground. The more large-scale interoperability and interpretation capabilities of IoMT are yet to be discovered. However, even as of now, it’s apparent that there’s potential for significant changes in the telemedicine market.
The effective application and evaluation of electronic tools can enhance access to better-coordinated maintenance for everybody. This is the ultimate objective of the telemedicine technology application. And even though their potential for AI, Blockchain, Big Data, and IoMT for telehealth hasn’t been realized yet, the area for activity keeps expanding.
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