Tele-health improves treatment of chronic disease, reduces cost of care delivery, lets baby boomers age gracefully in their homes. Tele monitoring is evolving more sophisticated ways of monitoring vital signs in the home, thus protecting people in a familiar, comfortable environment. The improvements in care delivery relate to leveraging large information sources that permit understanding what care works for what conditions.
Tele-health systems server markets are anticipated to grow because they represent a way to steer patients with a particular clinician to those most expert in treating that particular condition. Tele-health is not yet to the point where it is able to be used effectively to implement changes that represent significant improvements in overall healthcare delivery, they are largely confined to being used in the treatment of chronic conditions.
The aim of tele-health systems that will grow markets significantly is if the tele-health is used to prevent the onset of chronic conditions of CHF and diabetes through interventional medicine, wellness programs, and simply intelligent nutrition and exercise programs implementation. Is this the task of the hospitals? Or, are well ness programs meant to be implemented elsewhere? In any case, tele-health represents the delivery mechanism for the programs.
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Statins have a warning label that indicates that patients who take these drugs risk mental deterioration and diabetes. Is this what we want for our people? Or are there wellness programs that provide alternatives. These are issues confronting hospitals, physicians, clinicians, big pharma, and patients everywhere. We are all patients; the task is to figure out good tele-health systems that work to implement wellness programs before the onset of chronic conditions.
Under this scenario, the local physician and specialist becomes the expert in ordering the correct diagnostic tests, not just any test they can think of, but a proper test that is recommended by the expert systems and by the expert clinician. In this manner the out of control testing costs in the US can be controlled. There will need to be some law changes, there will need to be some adoption of protections for the expert doctors, but when decisions are backed by standards of care instantiated as tele health servers we begin to have a rational, very effective health care delivery system.
Use of tele-health systems in the treatment of chronic conditions is important. 90% of the cost of care delivery is tied up in the treatment of chronic conditions. A large percentage of the tele-monitoring servers was sold in the U.S., where the VA system did home monitoring of 92,000 patients in 2012. Tele-health equipment shipments are anticipated to grow rapidly worldwide as efficiencies of scale are realized for monitoring and treating people with chronic conditions in a more standardized manner that addresses the particular combinations and clusters of conditions any one patient presents.
Tele-health systems rely on monitors with integrated connectivity. Systems use monitoring hubs with integrated cellular capability and carts that permit remote diagnosis for places where there is a shortage of good doctors and where people want second opinions from a trusted expert. A physician that sees hundreds of patients a week with a certain condition is more apt to render an accurate diagnosis and to provide effective treatment than a physician that only sees that condition once a year.
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The only way to connect patients with a particular condition with a clinician expert in treating that condition is through telemedicine. Everyone knows that a surgeon who operates within a particular specialty every day is more expert than one who operates only once a year. The same is true across the board for all specialties.
Systems like the Bosch health management programs with evidence-based guidelines are great in this context. These evidence based systems can be used to keep physicians and clinicians focused on the most significant part of the condition being treated.
IBM Watson is similarly great in the context of connecting expert clinicians with patients presenting a certain combination of symptoms. This type of care delivery represents significant change, but it is change for the better, it is lower cost care delivery with higher quality of care. Watson or competing computing systems have the potential to be incredibly useful in this context. Because Watson and other cognitive computing systems can recognize clusters of symptoms in a particular patient, these types of systems are potentially useful in guiding patients to the care delivery clinician that is most likely to be able to recognize the best treatment and to provide the recommendation ot other clinicians as to what will be the highest level of effective care for the least cost.
The aim of tele-monitoring is to improve patient compliance with standards of care known to support improved outcomes for patients with chronic conditions. Tele-monitoring is one way to improve patient compliance, but there are other ways to achieve that as well.
Tele-monitoring increases patient compliance. The aim is to improve the delivery of healthcare to clients by monitoring vital signs to detect changes in patient condition that may indicate the onset of a more serious event, much as nurses in the hospital monitor patient vital signs.
According to Susan Eustis, the principal author of the study, "The advantage of telemonitoring is that it increases patient compliance. It brings expert medicine into the home and attempts to present it in manner patients can hear. The aim is to improve the delivery of healthcare to clients by performing medical exams remotely and monitoring vital signs to detect changes in patient condition that may indicate the onset of a more serious event, much as nurses in the hospital monitor patient vital signs for the purpose of permitting sophisticated care delivery."
Tele-health equipment units decrease the cost of care delivery while improving the quality of care and the quality of lifestyle available to patients. They have been widely adopted and extremely successful in use by the veterans administration in the US and by CMS Medicare and Medicaid. Use is anticipated to be extended to a wide variety of care delivery organizations based on this base of installed systems. Healthcare delivery is an increasing concern worldwide. Markets for the carts and associated servers segment of the market at $98 million in the first three quarters of 2012 are anticipated to reach$1.4 billion by 2018.
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