What is Telehealth / Telemedicine / Connected Health?
Telemedicine—sometimes used interchangeably with telehealth—refers specifically to remote clinical services that focus on a curative aspect of care.
In contrast, telehealth is broader in scope and includes disease prevention and digital health promotion—as well as curative care. Therefore, telemedicine can actually be considered a sub-domain of telehealth.
Connected health refers to a healthcare delivery model wherein telehealth and telemedicine technologies help to provide health services remotely.
Connected health aims to maximize healthcare resources through optimal use and the provision of more flexible digital health options for consumers and clinicians to achieve better health outcomes.
How are connected health, telehealth and telemedicine used?
The possibilities for the three related fields—telehealth, telemedicine and connected health—seem endless. The need is expansive, the specialty broad, and cutting-edge technologies are being developed every day.
Some of the most popular uses for connected health, telehealth and telemedicine include:
- Transmission of medical imaging for diagnosis
- Transmission of medical data for diagnosis or disease management
- Prevention, diagnosis and treatment of diseases using remote monitoring tools
- Emergency health advice via telephone and remote monitoring devices
- Remote patient monitoring and care
- Electronic consultation
- Distance medical education
- Healthcare system integration and management
- Health data collection and management for disease surveillance
- Healthcare asset identification, listing, and patient-to-asset matching and movement
- Real-time health information and services delivery—such as teleradiology and telecardiology—via video-conferencing or eHealth networks
The benefits of connected health, telehealth and telemedicine include:
- Reduction in healthcare costs
- Increased patient access to healthcare—especially in underserved areas
- Improved quality and continuity of care
- Improved access to healthcare colleagues by remote care providers
- Increased accuracy in care delivery
- Optimized use of digital health assets
- Improved scope of medical services offered
- Greater access to continuing medical education
- Reduced time to diagnosis and treatment with expedited consultations
- Improved gathering of digital health data in remote areas
- Increased productivity of healthcare staff
Current Market and Industry Trends for Connected Health, Telehealth and Telemedicine
Projections vary widely depending upon the defined scope of the connected health, telehealth and telemedicine market.
According to an IHS report, the global telehealth devices and services market is expected to grow to $4.5 billion by 2018, from $440.6 million in 2013.
The number of patients using telehealth solutions is expected to rise to 7 million from less than 350,000 in the same period.
An additional report predicts that the global telemedicine market, which stood at $14.2 billion in 2012, will experience a CAGR of 18.5% through 2018.
Combined, these forecasts can only mean big things for the connected health outlook in coming years.
The major factors driving the telehealth and telemedicine market growth are:
- Pressure to cut healthcare costs
- Pressure to provide care to remote and rural areas
- Growing demand to integrate digital health systems
- Government financial support
- Government initiatives
- Rise in aging population
- Increased demand for home-based remote monitoring systems
- Rise in incidences of chronic disorders
- Shortage of trained medical professionals
The major factors inhibiting the growth of telehealth and telemedicine are:
- High costs of global telehealth devices
- High maintenance and service costs
- Interoperability issues
- Shortage of trained telehealth and telemedicine professionals
- Physician resistance regarding use of remote monitoring systems
Connected health, teleheath and telemedicine. It’s a triple win for those who understand the enormous benefits that these dynamic and evolving digital health specialties have to offer.
- Telehealth Resource Center
- National Telehealth Resource Center – Policy
- American Telemedicine Association
- ISFTeH - International Society for Telemedicine and eHealth
- Center for Connected Health
- VA Telehealth Services
- e-Health and Telemedicine: 5 Examples of Growth in the GCC Today
- Can Digital Health Improve Quality-of-Life at End-of-Life?
- Up to the Challenge: Telemedicine Predictions from Industry Leaders
- Telemedicine: Digital Health’s Eldest Child Finally Comes of Age
- New Care Models Making a Difference: Telemedicine Hubs and Direct-to-Consumer Services
Relevant News Articles
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- UAE’s Big Push for Digital Health Technology at Arab Health 2014