Broadband where it’s never gone before and other technological marvels
by Jonathan Blum, April 2007 issue
"The Ultimate UCG: Telemedicine
Think user-created video
and music are hot? Meet telemedicine.
Sometimes called digital medicine
or remote monitoring, the process of providing health care remotely via the Web
is a massive market that is finally beginning to organize.
Around 60 million
people in the United States suffer from a chronic illness, according to
Dallas-based research firm Parks Associates. Factor in those providing care and
the total audience for health care can easily double, or even triple, that
With the potential audience that high, the telemedicine market is
expected to grow to $1.83 billion by 2010, according to Parks Associates’
research analyst Harry Wang. And companies like adt’s QuietCare and Webvmc are offering services such as remote
monitoring, in-home wellness, and the Remote Nurse — a purpose-built health-care
“The technology behind the industry has been in place for 15
years,” says Wang. “What holds it back is the lack of
understanding of the business between doctors, insurers and patients.”
In other words, a few good branding campaigns
could help this nascent industry grow into a real market. "
The real challenge that I have found is exactly the physician-business part. The "doctor's business" is very different from any other business. It is not strictly a consumer-driven, price sensitive business. We have third party payers, the insurance companies, which tend to drive healthcare spending depending on what services they cover and the reimbursement amount. I do not expect patients to pay for these telemedicine services themselves. More likely, it will be the payers or healthcare facilities, such as hospitals and nursing homes that would pay for these services if they see some improved outcome or cost saving.
The promise of telemedicine is delivering timely healthcare that meets the demand of the patient's illness. Similar to the concept of the "on demand service" concept that we see in the general IT space. With more timely medical interventions, patients would experience fewer treatment delays, less complications and thus reduced overall costs. If we can make this case, I'm sure we'll see the payers move faster in this direction.