Telehealth and the Future of Health Care

In an article for Forbes, Harry Wang made this bold claim: Virtual HealthCare Will Revolutionize the Industry, If We Let It. With the advent of the Internet and all the advances in telecommunications, information dissemination is made easier than ever before. Wang pointed out that “connectivity has created many new care option in the healthcare industry, including virtual health kiosks, and portals, remote consultations, and electronic personal health records.” The availability of said telehealth options are only going to increase in the future as patients, doctors, and insurers all learn to adopt and adapt to the new methods available.

“By 2018, 22 million households will use virtual care solutions, up from less than a million in 2013,” wrote Wang. “Average visits among these adopter households will increase from 2 per year in 2013 to 6 per year in 2018, which include both acute care and preventive follow-up services in a variety of care settings—at home, at retail kiosk or at work.”

Jenny McGrath, in her article for Digital Trends, discussed the smart home of the future and how it will be all about telehealth. She reported that during the recent Z-Wave Alliance Fall Summit, Frost & Sullivan Energy & Environment Vice President and Partner Roberta Gamble predicted that the current smart technologies built into our appliances and furniture will one day be made to “all act together seamlessly to provide a connected-life solution.” Gamble also predicted that telehealth will experience a boom in the market.

“Right now, telehealth basically means linking up doctors and patients, but as the Baby Boomer population ages, we can expect to see more gadgets in the home related to elders’ health and safety,” wrote McGrath. “Whether it’s video conferencing with a physician for a scheduled checkup or diabetics using a tablet to transmit their daily glucose levels, some of this tech is already starting to take off.”

Perhaps the future of health care will involve robot nurses or in-house, built-in sentient AIs, one never knows where technology can take us. But certainly, health care will no longer be limited to after-the-fact care but will encompass promotive and preventive aspects as well, all aimed at keeping the population as healthy, mobile, and independent for as long as possible.

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