Doctors Connect through Technology

4/9/2013

In most places, the days of doctors making house calls are a thing of the past. But M2M and connected devices could bring the doctor back into the home. mHealth (mobile health) and telehealth solutions use connectivity and devices such as tablets, smartphones, and monitors to transmit video and data back to healthcare providers.

Advances in technology bring enhancements to what’s possible in healthcare. Research from Strategy Analytics, www.strategyanalytics.com, shows mHealth applications are evolving to take advantage of image support capabilities in devices. The ability to transmit images via a device and a network allows doctors to examine and diagnose patients without needing to be in the same room.

This type of solution holds promise, especially for isolated or underserved areas. Strategy Analytics says in Egypt, remote health clinics use smartphones to transmit skin images to dermatologists. This allows more patients access to important care, even though there is a shortage of dermatologists.


While the use of technology for healthcare greatly increases convenience, Strategy Analytics cautions users that data security is even more vital in these solutions. Organizations need to make sure they are compliant with healthcare regulations.

One recently announced telehealth pilot is designed to meet HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act) rules. Massachusetts General Hospital in the Boston area is using a solution from American Well, www.americanwell.com, a telehealth services company. The hospital is undergoing a pilot program designed to bring healthcare services to patients using realtime video.

The six-month pilot will focus on three areas: child and adolescent psychiatry, heart failure, and neurology. American Well’s Online Care platform is a Web-based system that also incorporates smartphones and tablets. Doctors can review incoming information related to patient condition, as well as speak with and see the patient using video.

By making it easier for doctors to connect with patients, connected health solutions are taking advantage of the latest technology. These systems can bring the doctor into the patient’s home, easing the burden for those with chronic conditions or limited access to clinics and hospitals.

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