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Over the last decade, the contribution of telehealth as a driving force for timely care, has become significantly important and relevant for the management of chronic and non-communicable diseases globally due to the huge consumer demand and growing shortage of physicians.  According to a report by The National Centre for Biotechnology Information, NCBI, 50% of the patients in the United States have one or more chronic diseases, while in the European Union, 70% to 80% of health care budgets are spent on chronic diseases.  By 2030, the United States will see a shortage of up to 120,000 physicians—impacting both primary and specialty care as estimated by aamc.org while in India, the doctor-population ratio is 1:921, which means, many people still do not have access to the best medical offerings.

With more sophisticated telecommunication devices and remote monitoring applications, the growth of telehealth or telemedicine is changing the paradigm of the healthcare landscape, allowing improved patient care and enhanced health outcomes by bridging the gap between the physical location of the doctors and the patients.  In 2019-2020, we will witness telemedicine take the giant leap in healthcare.

However, the utilization of this technology is relatively low currently.  According to Deloitte’s 2018 survey of US physicians, only 23% of patients have had video visits and just 14% of physicians have video visit capability.

India Health Link, IHL, seeks to transform the challenges of this technology into opportunities by expanding the reach of the remote patient population to receive timely care while maintaining rigid data privacy and compliance.  IHL stands to make the change in healthcare delivery to the common people, policymakers and social corporations as well as building strategies for optimizing on reach and scale to diverse people population of India.  We help cut down cost & time and aim to take patient care to the next level by bringing a 360-degree care experience through our cutting-edge telemedicine solution offerings.

The following are the growth contributors of this technology in the healthcare industry:

Evolution of Telemedicine

Traditionally though Telemedicine or telehealth is associated with RPM (Remote patient monitor), Live video visits and asynchronous transmission of health records, the rise of m-health devices, apps, chatbots and virtual assistants are helping push the evolution of technology solutions to serve the purpose of telemedicine by increasing the consumer demand and bringing out the cost saving potential of it for both physicians and patients.

Blockchain 

Blockchain, through its ability of decentralized ledger system, allows for enhanced scalability by allowing physicians to compile patient information from treatments and tests while maintaining data security.  It instils consumer confidence by providing anonymous, absolute and secure transactions for transfer of health data.  Fraud and false claims are also prevented.

Telemedicine as a standard

US, UK and Canada have already passed internal laws to allow for better parity in this technology to help physicians and patients adopt acceptance of telemedicine technology as a norm.

Patient centric care

Traditionally telemedicine was used for patients located in remote locations that had minimal health care centres or shortage of medical professionals.  But today’s patients need immediate care for urgent but minor conditions at the comfort of their homes while at the same time, being able to be in control of their individual health. Telemedicine is aiding doctors spend more time for individual care and review of cases.

Growth and the potential cost benefit

According to the Grand View Research, the U.S. telemedicine market, valued at over $500 million in 2014, is set to grow as large as $13 billion by the 2020-year end while a report published by the Centre for Connected Medicine and The Health Management Academy states 45% of respondents expect the use of telehealth to increase by 10% or more in 2019.

A 2010 ibid empirical study on the cost-benefit of telehealth revealed that the existence of telehealth networks had resulted in annual Canadian health system cost avoidance of approximately $55 million and personal travel cost savings of $70 million

Towerswatson.com research report reveals U.S. employers could save up to $6 billion per year by providing telemedicine technologies to their employees

A Deloitte study estimates that half of the roughly 600 million in-person visits to general practitioners that Americans and Canadians make each year could be conducted via telemedicine.

NCD or non-communicable diseases like diabetes and hypertension constitute half of the deaths in India.  Research states, healthcare costs grew between 83% and 265% over the last decade. A report released by McKinsey Global Institute (MGI) has estimated that the implementation of telemedicine technology could save India $4 billion to $5 billion every year and replace half of in-person outpatient consultations in the country.

Telemedicine is a viable approach to provide patient centric timely care, better clinical outcomes than the traditional care, and is proving to be beneficial to patients in terms of personalized care without having the hassle to travel to visit them.  It will augment doctors in the healthcare sphere.  Healthcare providers, physicians, specialists and patients need to look at transitioning to this avenue for quicker and cost-effective care.