Telemedicine, the actual delivery of remote clinical services using technology, is growing rapidly. According to a report by Research and Markets, the global telemedicine market is expected to increase by a compound annual growth rate of 18.5% through 2018. The highest growth will be in the U.S. During the past five decades, the use of medical information exchanged from one site to another via electronic communications helped save time and money and, most importantly, saved lives. Today, telemedicine is not just about extending care to patients in remote areas. It is being integrated into the everyday operations of hospitals, home health agencies, private physician offices, specialty departments, and also homes and offices. The benefits that telemedicine offers can be listed as follows:
- Timely provision of appropriate treatment
- Minimize travel expenses
- Physicians could cover more patients in less time
- Patients living in remote areas could experience quality treatment
- Lesser number of hospital visits needed for patients
- Improved monitoring and management of diseases
- Timely response to emergency
- Convenient patient counseling
- Continuity of care
- Saves costs to patient, provider & system
Let’s take a look at the latest trends in telemedicine.
- The focus is on home-based healthcare solutions, which would give patients more control over their care. New tools and products are allowing for physicians to retrieve patient data quickly and more efficiently.
- Physicians can use smartphones, laptops, and tablets to sync to the facility’s network. Patients can monitor vital signs and transmit it to their physician when needed.
- The cloud storage solutions are widely being used with the rise in requirement of storage of large amount of data. This is helping to avoid excessive hardware costs.
- Telemedicine is being used to implement health and wellness programs, which helps to reduce health complications and hospital readmissions.
- Many private insurers cover telehealth in the same way they cover in-person services. Medicare and Medicaid plans also cover many telehealth services.
However, the introduction of advanced systems for transfer and storage of patient information could compromise the safety and security of patient data. Medical networks need to integrate appropriate privacy and security measures in the telehealth systems they use.
One of the areas of focus of the mHealth + Telehealth World 2014 to be held in Boston, MA, during July 22-24 is how real life uses of digital health programs provide tools and methods to promote hospital and provider buy-in and prove ROI of using mHealth and Telehealth as part of normal delivery of care. Timely and accurate documentation of telemedicine care reports is crucial to ensure hassle-free and maximum reimbursement for healthcare providers. Professional medical transcription services are available to make this possible.