Healthcare Technology Featured Article

September 30, 2015

Telemedicine Gaining Adoption Along with Mobility and Smartphone Advances

As video and collaboration technologies and solutions have become more robust and reliable, the use of telemedicine and digital health has really taken off. Telemedicine is a great fit for all sorts of applications, enabling assessments, monitoring and diagnoses at significantly reduced costs.

We got the chance to chat with Dr. Ralph Rogers, a London-based telemedicine specialist who also works with patients in the U.S., Europe and Asia, about the many benefits of telemedicine and digital healthcare. Although he is mainly known as a sports physician, Rogers has spent many years practicing telemedicine and holds a number of certifications and titles within the digital healthcare field.

“The areas in which telemedicine makes an impact are practically limitless; monitoring chronic disease, mental health, dermatology, cardiology, even rehabilitation,” said Rogers. “Not only is telemedicine actively changing the ways in which medical professionals treat their patients, it is also making world-class treatment much more accessible by reducing costs.”

A recent report from Kalorma Information certainly confirms that telemedicine apps are gaining serious traction. The research firm found that of the overall $489 million medical application sales, telemedicine and monitoring are at the forefront this year. And the U.K. has been especially active in the telemedicine space with Scotland successfully conducting a number of pilot programs designed to provide early assessments to rural areas.

According to Rogers, one of the biggest misconceptions surrounding telemedicine is that broadband limitations prevent it from reaching rural or underdeveloped regions. “The global trend proves that telecommunication is improving and will continue to improve over the next decade,” he said. “For example, Sub-Saharan Africa will overtake Europe to become the world’s second largest mobile market after Asia Pacific by 2020. And the number of Nigerian Internet users moved from 30.9 million users in 2009 to 62.4 million users in 2013. In the meantime, I feel that telemedicine will have its strongest impact through the exponential growth of smart phone usage across the world.”

Rogers practices what he preaches and explains that telemedicine has been very beneficial to his practice over the years. He has regularly used it to send x-rays and encrypted patient notes, and professes that it has helped improve the efficiencies and cost effectiveness of his practice overall. He adds that dermatology is one of the best fits for telemedicine, as patients may take a photo of a problem area to send it quickly to a specialist for analysis. But the technology is also a great fit for mental health, cardiology, rehabilitation and chronic disease applications.

“The communicative benefits of telemedicine are hugely wide-ranging,” said Rogers. “Rural hospitals connect to regional hospitals to access their expertise; complicated cases can now be video conferenced for more accurate diagnosis and treatment. Telemedicine is an empowering tool. Professionals are empowered to have confidence in their decisions and patients are empowered to manage their own chronic conditions.” 

Edited by Stefania Viscusi

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