Telemedicine is the future of the healthcare
“Ooh, telemedicine…? Is it something similar to the telemarketing? Do you sell medicine over the phone?”
Surprisingly, many people do not have the faintest idea about what telemedicine actually is. In the U.S., for example, some 40% of population have not even heard about it. Despite this general unawareness of telemedicine, it is growing and transforming healthcare all over the world.
The fastest development of telemedicine over last decades has happened in the U.S. Until today it has been the leading country in telemedicine field, Japan being the second. Market analysis shows that China might catch up these countries in next five years. Europe has a lot of work to do before telemedicine reaches the same popularity and level of distribution as it is in US. Even though European countries are behind the US in regards to telemedicine maturity, they´re beginning to catch up. In developing countries telemedicine is starting to play bigger and bigger role. It is one of the fastest growing sectors in the healthcare, and it is estimated soon to become a major form of healthcare even in the most distant corners of the world.
Reasons to Believe in Telemedicine
The number of doctors available vs. growing and aging population is dramatically shrinking, and the lack of qualified medical experts becomes ever bigger issue. Especially in remote or sparsely populated areas it is impossible to ensure enough doctors being available locally. Telemedicine helps to bridge the gap and deliver healthcare wherever and whenever needed. Telemedicine allows medical experts to consult and help more patients and thus keeps the quality of the healthcare delivery in acceptable level.
Telemedicine also enables huge savings for healthcare providers. Workforce constitutes a large portion of overall costs for healthcare companies, and any technology that helps to automate the routine work or saves working time is very appreciated. Telemedicine reduces the doctor´s need to travel, making the work both more meaningful and more efficient.
In developed countries healthcare system is going through big changes because of the urge to cut public sector costs. For example in Finland a radical healthcare reform, called SOTE is scheduled to come into effect from the beginning of 2019. It raises fears about how adequate treatment of patients in distant areas will be guaranteed. Telemedicine technology can come to the resque by keeping cost to the minimum while ensuring sufficient quality level and amount of healthcare.
Healthcare situation in developing countries is yet more severe. Pollution, sanitary and hygiene situations are bad and conditions that developed countries learned to prevent decades ago still cause high death rates. The lack of doctors and healthcare workers often does not allow to provide even basic medical help. Telemedicine can be applied as an efficient remedy to deliver healthcare where it lacks the most.
Technology has opened up a huge opportunity and enables many benefits over traditional way of providing healthcare. These include convenience, access, affordability, and direct health benefits. Even there are still a few technical challenges that have to be solved, telemedicine is the main game changer of the utmost importance when we are talking about tomorrow’s healthcare solutions.