What is Telemedicine?
Telemedicine is the use of medical information exchanged from one site to another via electronic communications to improve a patient’s clinical health status. It includes the remote diagnosis and treatment of patients by means of telecommunications technology. The protected health information (PHI) exchanged is encrypted and secured when transmitted.
What tools are needed for Telemedicine?
In it’s basic form, it can be as simple as talking to your physician on the phone and providing him with your temperature, blood pressure and heart rate and answers to some basic triage questions. However, with today’s technological advances, the tools typically include a tablet-sized screen with Video, voice and data support, email, smart phones, wireless sensors to capture your vitals and wearable clothing. The RxPense®, for example, is telemedicine-ready.
Why is Telemedicine Needed?
The ability to care for people, regardless of location, is life sustaining in itself. The ability for physicians and specialists to care for more people, more efficiently, ensures our growing population receives the care it deserves. Finally, the cost to provide remote care, or remote patient management, is a fraction of the cost of hospitalized care. This fact alone can save our governments from going bankrupt.
Insane Numbers Supporting the Need for Telemedicine
Chronic disease is Canada’s most prominent health care problem, costing more than $80 billion each year and causing increased use of emergency departments, extended hospital stays, reduced quality of life and increased mortality rates. Improving the quality of care for people with chronic diseases is complex, requiring timely diagnosis and treatment, access to primary and specialist care and a focus on self-management tasks and decisions.
In the USA, the CDC reported that “we spend 86% of our health care dollars on the treatment of chronic diseases.” Larry Ellison, founder of Oracle predicts that healthcare costs will soon bankrupt our government.
A recent study in Ontario (OTN) indicated that: Telehomecare demonstrated a reduction of 70 per cent in ER visits and a reduction of 76 per cent in in-patient admissions six months after discharge from the program compared with the pre-Telehomecare rate.
- As of 2012, about half of all adults—117 million people—have one or more chronic health conditions. One of four adults has two or more chronic health conditions. With an aging population, the problems are further compounded.
- The total costs of heart disease and stroke in 2010 were estimated to be $315.4 billion. Of this amount, $193.4 billion was for direct medical costs, not including costs of nursing home care.
- Cancer care cost $157 billion in 2010 dollars.
- The total estimated cost of diagnosed diabetes in 2012 was $245 billion, including $176 billion in direct medical costs and $69 billion in decreased productivity.
The Incentive for Medical Device Manufacturers to push Telemedicine
In addition to helping save lives, reducing government and institutional deficits and providing a better quality of care, the Medical device market in Canada is projected to be $100 Billion by 2020. Worldwide, the market will grow from $500 Billion today to over $1 Trillion within the next 5 years!
The Remote Patient Monitoring and Medication Management market is currently estimated at $30B and expected to grow in line with the continued worldwide adoption of digital health devices and technologies.
According to a recent news release by WinterGreen Research, the “cost of tele-medicine for the US veterans administration is $1,630 per patient per annum”. By comparison, nursing home and facility care programs cost $100,000 per annum. The Veterans Hospital Administration implementation was a very positive experience resulting in a more widespread adoption of tele-medicine. “Telemedicine is an appropriate and cost-effective way of managing chronic care patients in both urban and rural settings”.
The Benefits of Telemedicine
Supporting people in self-management has been shown to be effective at improving outcomes and has been promoted across the widest array of conditions and populations.… These strategies enable patients, together with their health care providers, to medically manage their illnesses more effectively, carry out normal roles and activities and manage the emotional impact of their illnesses.
Study after study have concluded that Remote Patient Management or Telehomecare:
- Improves: Patient self-management, Medication compliance, Clinical outcomes, Patient & Provider Satisfaction, Collaborative relationships, Best practice care for chronic disease and Data integration.
- Reduces: Emergency Room visits, Hospital admissions, Primary Care utilization, Long Term Care, home admissions, Patient travel costs, Walk-in clinic utilization and Patient Morbidity!
Engaging patients in self-management of their chronic diseases is important and effective. – Public Health Agency of Canada.
The Medipense Advantage
The Medipense product line, RxPense®, not only manages, controls, monitors and records medication dispensing and consumption, but also captures vitals and other important markers, via sensory inputs, and securely stores this data in the cloud for instant access by caregivers and health care professionals. Anomalies are reported immediately, blood pressure, temperature or other vitals are sent via alarms for each out of normal event. The RxPense® Hub includes a large touchscreen front panel with built-in video, voice and data capabilities to securely connect to a physician, clinic, hospital or caregiver, anywhere in the world.
RxPense is the only product in the world that provides a patented, secure, medication management system with a complete Remote Patient Monitoring capability, including an interface to all common Bluetooth sensors, in a single unit, single interface, 24x7, secure, online solution.