- One of the key strategies the healthcare industry is using in order to improve access to care is to adopt technologies capable of providing consultations and oversight regardless of where a patient is located. No longer does a patient need to come into the primary care practice or a specialist’s office to receive much-needed care. Telehealth technology, for example, allows patients to consult with physicians remotely using videoconferencing. Additionally, remote monitoring tools enable providers to track patients’ health and vital signs when they are residing at home.
Consulting company Tractica released a new report that outlines the market growth of remote monitoring tools and home health technologies. In order to improve patient health outcomes and strengthen the healthcare delivery system as a whole, providers have begun adopting home health technologies for elder care, remote monitoring tools for tracking chronic conditions, and telehealth physician consultations to expand access to care.
Additionally, the power of smartphones and mobile health apps is also bringing more healthcare management and tracking to consumers at large. The Tractica report goes on to discuss how rising medical costs could be a stimulant for the adoption and implementation of home health technologies and remote monitoring tools. These new devices and applications could be an effective way of reducing costs.
The Tractica report predicts that the use of home health technologies and remote monitoring tools will rise from 14.3 million users worldwide in 2014 to 78.5 million users in 2020. The report analyzes trends and challenges associated with the remote home monitoring market over the next five years.
The Internet of Things is also making a significant impact on the healthcare industry. The Internet of Things can actually improve patient care but there are certain security challenges that providers will need to overcome. Sharing patient information or consumer health data incorrectly could lead to significant issues, but, if proper security measures are followed, sharing medical data could lead to major cost savings for the healthcare field.
The Kaiser Family Foundation reported that the average costs of an in-patient visit for one day totaled $1,700. Remote monitoring tools, however, can reduce this statistic significantly and lower overall costs of in-patient hospital services.
Along with remote monitoring tools, telehealth technologies are also revolutionizing the medical industry. In fact, employers are offering telemedicine coverage policies to their employees, legislation is being implemented among the majority of states to reimburse providers of telehealth, and more physicians than ever before are speaking to their patients via telemedicine-based video consultations.
The National Business Group on Health stated in a press release that more employers are offering health benefits in the workplace, one of which is telehealth coverage services. The organization reports a sharp rise in telehealth offerings. About three out of four survey takers – 74 percent – stated that they plan to offer telehealth coverage to employees in states where the service is legal. This has grown significantly from the previous survey results of 48 percent.
“Investment and adoption of digital health continues to grow rapidly,” Dr Andrey Ostrovsky, CEO of telehealth company Care at Hand, told Forbes. “More than $6.9 billion was poured in to digital health technologies in 2014 and we’re on track to match or exceed that number in 2015 with $2.8 billion investment as of Q2. In my opinion, in the next 5 years, telehealth will become as routine as vaccinations and x-rays.”
Essentially, the mobile health industry from remote monitoring and mHealth apps to telehealth technology and wearable devices could improve patient outcomes and self-management capabilities of chronic conditions.
“In order to create true health empowerment, we must meet patients on their terms and put them at the center of the process. Their care plans must be personalized and easily integrated into their daily lives. By providing things like mobile checklists and reminders, coupled with an accountable relationship with clinical coaches, we can promote self-care and cut down the time in the doctor’s office,” Rebecca Norlander, CEO of Health123, told the news source.