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A growing number of physicians are overcoming the barriers of time and space to deliver the right care to patients when they need it, without patients ever having to leave the comfort of their own homes. Read this collection of some of the best year’s best news stories that dig deeper into telemedicine and telehealth trends.
Artificial intelligence (AI) succeeded in making Alexa more helpful and Watson a better Jeopardy! contestant, but that’s just the beginning. AI is rapidly transforming healthcare in a variety of ways. In a recent survey of 56 leading healthcare organizations, Tata Consultancy Services found that 86% of them have already adopted AI, and plan to spend an average of $54 million on it by 2020.
Healthcare organizations are excited by the synergies between AI and telehealth. For example, clinicians are already using a Google machine learning algorithm to remotely diagnose and treat diabetic retinopathy.
Now that medical telemetry products are wireless and omnipresent, AI software can sift through the mountains of data faster than humans, quickly identifying health problems before they become catastrophic.
Partners Healthcare in Boston recently announced a 10-year alliance with GE Healthcare to develop new business models for applying AI to healthcare at Massachusetts General Hospital and Brigham and Women’s Hospital’s Center for Clinical Data Science. This “deep learning” technology will soon be used to improve radiology diagnostics, operational efficiency and much more.
If you thought that the HAL computer from the movie 2001: A Space Odyssey was amazing, wait until you see the newest AI advances. There’s a company called FDNA that uses AI and facial analysis to remotely analyze genomic data and diagnose rare diseases.
Telehealth uses information and communication technologies to transfer medical information for the delivery of clinical and educational services 1 . It attempts to overcome challenges of health service delivery due to time, distance, and difficult terrains, enabling cost-effectiveness and better access in both developed and developing world settings. It has a special role during emergencies like earthquakes and floods 2 . Additionally, longer lifespan and associated rising incidence of chronic diseases have increased care demand and complexity, necessitating longer interactions between patients and providers (as well as among providers), and thereby increasing the need for tele-healthcare support 3 .
Telehealth has been classified historically as synchronous using real-time electronic communication, or asynchronous using store-and-forward communication. Recently a third form has been recognised as remote (tele) monitoring , involving data collection through distributed devices including Internet of Things (IOT). The last World Health Organisation global eHealth observatory survey 4 noted four exemplary well-embedded telehealth services: tele-radiology, tele-pathology, tele-dermatology and tele-psychiatry; of these, the first three follow asynchronous models of care and the fourth is synchronous. This demonstrates an inherent difficulty in replacing or augmenting real-time clinician-delivered services. Furthermore, the same survey revealed that over 60% of respondents identified lack of information on telehealth-related clinical practice to be a great impediment to wider uptake.