M2M Brings Healthcare into the Home

When it comes to healthcare, one might be hard pressed to find a person who wouldn’t prefer service in the comfort of their own home. But the sick, the elderly, and those in crisis often don’t have a choice in the matter. This is where M2M and connected technology often comes in handy, as it enables doctors and nurses to communicate with patients remotely.

For instance, Franciscan Health System, www.fhshealth.org, based in Takoma, Wash., recently introduced Franciscan Virtual Urgent Care. This program allows anyone in the organization’s service area to receive medical care 24 hours a day via their smartphone, tablet, or computer. As such, patients can receive a personalized diagnosis, treatment planning, and even prescriptions from board-certified doctors and nurses via connected devices.

The program comes via a partnership with Carena, www.carenamd.com, and offers patients treatment via phone call or video chat. The service costs $35 per visit. As Franciscan Virtual Urgent Care is not yet covered by insurance, Franciscan endeavored to keep the price low so it would be affordable and accessibly.

“We tested the Franciscan Virtual Urgent Care with our own employees before expanding it to the public, so we know this model of care delivery works,” says Cliff Robertson, chief operating officer of Franciscan Health System. “As our healthcare system evolves, patients have more control over their healthcare dollars. We are innovating to provide care more efficiently, conveniently, and at a lower cost.”

It’s difficult to argue the amount of potential there is in the home healthcare industry, especially considering MarketsandMarkets, www.marketsandmarkets.com, projects it will be worth $296 billion by 2016.

A recent report from the market research company partially attributes this number to an increase in the global aging population, which is expected to rise from 550 million in 2000 to a projected 973 million in 2030. In addition, the report states an increasing number of countries are experiencing an “epidemiological transition,” in that chronic diseases with long-term treatment needs have begun replacing infections as the primary cause of death among the elderly. As such, home healthcare is required for diseases and disorders which need regular monitoring.

The conveniences offered by M2M and connected technology are difficult to argue. But as evidenced above, it’s not necessarily always about convenience. M2M has the ability to bring doctors to their patients when they’re needed most, even though they may be miles away.

Want to tweet about this article? Use the hashtags #M2M, #telehealth

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June/July 2014
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