Enhancing patient care across borders
Telemedicine is improving access to treatment.
By Pete West, April 2013
The rise of telemedicine has created a number of important advantages for providers and patients, from important daily monitoring devices to life-saving applications. Most of these telehealth applications are wirelessly connected via cellular and satellite networks. As a provider of cellular and satellite networking services specifically designed for connecting telehealth and other non-phone wireless devices, KORE is approached every day with new end-user case scenarios where telemedicine can provide intrinsic value.
In recent years, there have been a few specific health issues that have risen to the top as the most “telehealth ready” conditions, meaning that these ailments are ripe for treatment with telemedicine and mHealth applications. The emergence of cost-effective and ubiquitous wireless enablement creates distinct advantages for each of these top health conditions for telemedicine treatment.
Blood pressure: Wireless sensor nodes have quickly become cost effective, energy efficient and compact, allowing for continuous cycle reporting and electronic dispatch in urgent and emergency medical situations.
Prescription compliance: On the surface, this is an easy one. Patient health risks – and the risk of hospital admission and readmission – get greatly reduced by eliminating medication misses. Wireless sensors that track and monitor prescription bottles help ensure that the proper dosage of medication is taken at the right time.
Active heart monitoring: Wireless heart-monitoring devices have already proven to reduce hospitalizations for at-risk patients through early detection of heart failure.
Diabetes: Wireless glucose monitoring devices can send alerts to patients and doctors alike when values move outside an acceptable range. These devices can also monitor dietary intake.
Sleep apnea: Telemedicine devices for sleep apnea can handle both investigatory and direct treatment. There is a direct cost savings here as well, as the devices directly eliminate the need for expensive polysomnography exams and limit the need for overnight hospital stays on an ongoing basis.
Each of these conditions benefits greatly from the rise of telemedicine and the networks that allow mHealth applications and devices to transmit data from patients to healthcare providers. However, these benefits and advantages vary widely from the First World to the Third World, both places where telemedicine is booming.
Telemedicine solutions allow specialized doctors to gain access to data for patients who may live hundreds of miles away. This is becoming an increasing concern, particularly within the “at-home aging” population and especially those not able to leave their home. HMT
About the Author
Pete West is director of business development, KORE Telematics. For more on KORE Telematics: www.rsleads.com/304ht-206