The future of healthcare will depend on the effective incorporation of digital technologies to streamline the practice of medicine and to decrease costs. A core element of this strategy is the role of technology:
- Real time remote patient consultations;
- Remote monitoring of patients’ vital signs and conditions;
- The storing and forwarding of critical health information for analysis and diagnosis; and
- The wide availability of health information to patients and caregivers.
A recent study by the Advanced Communications Law & Policy Institute (ACLP) found that remote health monitoring resources help save $927 billion in healthcare costs for seniors and people with disabilities over the 25 year period between 2005 and 2030. It also cited a study that said that telemedicine “could save the U.S. healthcare system $4.28 billion (annually) just from reducing transfers of patients from one location, such as a nursing home for medical exams at hospitals, physicians’ offices, or other caregiver locations.”
Remote health monitoring also enables early disease prevention which can lead to enormous cost-savings. It reduces the need for costly physician involvement, which can be adequately replaced, in many cases, by nurse practitioners and physician assistants. The transition toward an electronic health infrastructure will also create new job opportunities.A recent study estimates that an investment of $10 billion in health IT in one year would create or retain 212,000 U.S. jobs for a year.
These technologies enable the in-home remote monitoring of a variety of vital signs and other health metrics. Such remote monitoring services enhance the comfort of the patient, provide real time data that can assist in more timely diagnoses, and facilitate a number of efficiencies and cost-savings.
A study showed that the U.S. Veterans Association, a leader in the use of remote monitoring, found that in-home chronic disease management tools (e.g. tele-consultations, diabetes monitoring) resulted in 40 percent fewer emergency room visits and a 63 percent reduction in hospital admissions.
Remote health monitoring:
- Enables delivery of critical healthcare services to remote and home-bound patients, facilitates enormous cost savings and empowers individuals by providing them with access to critical medical information.
- Facilitates the development of a new generation of telemedicine tools, services and devices which have bolstered healthcare in this country and resulted in measurable and significant cost savings to providers and patients.
- Shifts the healthcare paradigm towards more individualized and convenient care by, among other things, allowing for more robust in-home health monitoring and treatment.
- Creates impetus within the public and private sectors to spur innovation, deployment and use of telemedicine services across the healthcare industry.
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