Telemedicine is a swiftly developing area of healthcare services that makes use of telecommunication technolog...
Telemedicine is a swiftly developing area of healthcare services that makes use of telecommunication technology and multimedia equipment to provide healthcare solutions over a geographic distance. It uses interactive audiovisual media to transfer medical information for consulting purposes. The devices and technologies used in telemedicine include cameras, videoconferencing devices, internet, satellites, and wireless communications.
Telemedicine offers clinical care services through two main technologies- pre-captured or store-and-forward (archived and then sent over the communication network), and real time interaction. The pre-captured technology is used in non-emergency circumstances, wherein electronic medical records of clinical information, diagnostic tests, images, etc. are transmitted to a medical specialist / healthcare professional at a convenient time for assessment offline. Applications of this technology include telepathology, teledermatology, and teleradiology. Real time technology, on the other hand, involves the use of interactive systems to aid face-to-face consulting sessions using telephonic conversations and online communication. It includes services such as telepsychiatry, telecardiology, teleophthalmology, and telepediatrics, and these most frequently make use of videoconferencing devices for communication and consulting.
The global market for telemedicine has shown rapid growth in the recent times due to increase in healthcare costs and also the demand for better and affordable healthcare services. Factors driving growth of this market include increasing world population and per capita income, rise in life expectancy, high rate of internet penetration, and increasing healthcare expenditure in the emerging economies. As a result, healthcare organizations are increasingly adopting telemedicine technologies to satisfy the ever increasing demand for better access to healthcare services. Countries in Europe and Asia are developing healthy telemedicine infrastructure, in order to deliver well-organized and timely health services to all patient segments. A platform that allows association and interaction between patients and healthcare providers needs to be developed, which would also help improve the awareness and usage of telemedicine.
Various hospitals are also implementing an integrated approach for healthcare delivery via amalgamation of telemedicine with the Hospital Information System (HIS) and health information networks. With the help of this, a patient's medical records would be accessible by all the hospital departments, thereby facilitating superior quality of service. More importantly, it would enable continued delivery of services to the patient even after discharge from the hospital. Key players in this market include Mckesson Ltd., Siemens IT Solutions and Services, AMD Telemedicine, IBM Healthcare, Medtronic Inc., GE Healthcare, Honeywell HomMed LLC, Invivo Corp., Apollo Hospitals Group, Philips Healthcare, and SHL TeleMedicine Ltd., amongst others. With further developments in the healthcare IT industry and better reach of healthcare providers across all kinds of patient populations, the telemedicine market is all set to revolutionize the structure and functioning of the healthcare sector.