Telemedicine has shown a greater degree of adaptability in accordance with sectors such as communication and information. This has provided health care practitioners and patients with a wide array of services. Presently, telemedicine is routinely used in daily medical practices by professionals. Hospitals find telemedicine services to be increasingly profitable, as the reach of the services has improved significantly over the years due to the advent of tele-support. The global telemedicine technologies and services market is predominantly driven by increase in the global geriatric population, advances in mobile penetration, connectivity, and ICT services, and burden on existing hospital care due to growing health care demands. According to the World Health Organization, the global geriatric population was around 524 million in 2010 and is likely to reach 1.5 billion by 2050. A lot has been discussed about what will drive this market and what will challenge it. However, the fact that there are scores and scores of patients that still remain inaccessible to timely treatment seems to be the indisputable theme of this soaring growth
Advancement in Telemedicine Technologies and Services Industry:
Q. How will telemedicine technologies and services reach out to the masses?
A. The exceptional integration of telecommunication or information technology and the healthcare sector has led to the development of remarkable telemedicine technologies and services solutions. The maturation of these technologies has allowed medical care providers to provide help to those who do not have access to healthcare centers. This has brought in a new dimension to treating medical emergencies and critical care. The extending reach of the global telemedicine technologies and services market has led to a remarkable change in disease management and quality of life of several patients in rural areas and other inaccessible places.
Q. How are telemedicine technologies and services helping in disease management?
A. A study published in Telemedicine and e-Health states that telemedicine technologies and services are being actively used for treating diabetic patients in prisons. This unique adoption of telemedicine is a game-changer as getting specialty and subspecialty consultations is a rarity for prisoners. Therefore, using these advanced facilities has allowed prisoners to access endocrinologists and physicians at a reduced cost as it completely eliminates the transportation expenses.
For instance, Researchers from SUNY Upstate Medical University in Syracuse created a chart review of what transpired between 106 male diabetic inmates at 15 correctional facilities in upstate New York and telemedicine visits made by endocrinologists at these facilities. Initially, these patients had high HbA1c levels, which decreased by about 1.3% for many despite limited follow-ups. The assistance of physicians and the care given to these patients through telemedicine infrastructure showed a remarkable change in disease management. However, the biggest challenge in this system was the availability of prisoners and cancellations of the appointments by the prison itself.
Q. What is the way forward for global telemedicine technologies and services market?
A. The recent havoc created by Zika virus, leaving several babies with microcephaly, has been an excellent test for the global telemedicine technologies and services market. The biggest problem in severely affected Brazil is the poor quality of medical infrastructure and the unmanageable problem of logistics. To reconcile these differences and to provide specialized care, health care centers in Brazil are adopting telemedicine.
Besides Zika, congenital heart defects are also being treated and monitored by medical practitioners through this technology. At the heart of this monumental move in Brazil lies the union of echo taxis, which are cars that deliver specialized equipment to various facilities in inaccessible parts of the villages. The initiative has lowered the pressure of treating and monitoring patients in larger care centers by bringing help to their doorstep.
Analysts predict that telemedicine services will show remarkable progress due to their ability to provide quality medical services in remote locations, in the coming years. This market will also be propelled by innovative and cost-effective telemedicine services and products.
Despite the apparent positives, the mammoth industry has to overcome legal hurdles such as the one in Texas where Teledoc, a key player in the market, has been unable to grow due to restrictions imposed by the state. Furthermore, to retain a loyal customer base, large companies in this market will have to focus on better care solutions rather than just launching technology to deliver results that are promised.
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