The Evolution of Telemedicine as a Boost to Remote Treatment

June 13th, 2018 - 0 Comments

The American Telemedicine Association defines telemedicine as the “use of medical information exchanged from one site to another through electronic communications to improve health status.” It therefore helps healthcare professionals to diagnose, evaluate, and treat patients remotely using telecommunication techniques.

The technology has proved to be extremely helpful in the last few decades, and has become an important part of the American and global healthcare infrastructure.

Consumers in the healthcare industry, like many other industries, are also becoming more empowered, informed, and demanding. The unmet needs of patients are served in a better manner, and they can access their healthcare services more conveniently. The global telemedicine market is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 14.3% from 2014 to 2020, and reach $36.2 billion by 2020.

The positive impact of telemedicine in clinical outcomes in the US:

Different Areas of Telemedicine

Telemedicine deals with many different areas of healthcare, such as:

  • Teleradiology or the transfer of images and media
  • Telestroke or remote data transfer to emergency specialists
  • Tele-ICU, where systems and networks are connected to the critical medical specialists
  • Telemental health or distant mental health treatment
  • Cybersurgery for operations with the help of telecommunication and robotic instruments
  • Telepharmacy or the delivery of pharmaceutical products with telecommunication to patients

Telemedicine and Pharma

Many pharmaceuticals companies, and those involved in pharmaceutical consulting, are also taking interest in telemedicine to improve their engagement with the healthcare authorities, patients, and practitioners. Engaging in such initiatives creates a substantial impact for the companies, both in terms of application and geography.

Telemedicine is now impacting pharmacy, radiopharmacy, automated dispensing, and remote supervision. The adoption of telemedicine also helps to reduce the exposure of staff to radiation in radiopharmacy units. Telepharmacy allows easy access to pharmacies for people in remote areas who are unable to access basic pharmacy amenities.

Telemedicine, although it focused on urgent care earlier, is now moving towards chronic care and health management. In addition to sponsoring initiatives, pharmaceutical companies can also use telemedicine to get in contact with the healthcare professionals. This helps them get answers to their on-call questions for particular therapy areas. For example, doctors use software such as the ePocrates app on their phones or tablets to interact directly with the Pfizer medical information department in the US.

Some collaborations of telemedicine companies:

  1. Teva Pharmaceuticals invested $10 million in the telemedicine startup American Well in 2015. This investment is expected to help Teva to expand its solutions beyond medication;
  2. Value Drug Company and American Well entered into an agreement in 2016 to provide telemedicine services to more than 600 independent pharmacies and their customers. The agreement is expected to address the shortage of medical professionals in underserved and rural areas;
  3. Otsuka Pharmaceutical Development and Commercialization Inc. announced a strategic collaboration with Science 37, a technology-enabled clinical research company, in 2017 to support its effort to digitize Otsuka’s clinical study protocols that focus on psychiatry and behavioral health.

Heart of the Matter

Heart disease is a major cause of death in Russia and many other countries. There are many initiatives conducted by the healthcare system to educate the population about the disease. St. Petersburg-based Cardiac Monitoring Service looks at the problems from a different perspective, for people with heart disease or at a high risk in different and remote areas.

This service has partnered with Aerotel Medical Systems, an Israeli company, for telehealth services based on portable electrocardiogram monitoring. It includes sending recorded traces to the Cardiac Monitoring Centers, following the recommended course of treatment, and action received within a few minutes.

Merck and Company Inc. sponsors the Text to Change Initiative, which focuses on countries affected by poverty. These nations are provided with better healthcare services via SMS. Many pharmaceutical companies, along with Pfizer and Johnson & Johnson, and the US government, support Text4Baby, a free app that provides information via SMS for pregnancy and early life.

The article “A systematic review of economic analyses of telehealth services using real-time video communication” states that around 91% of health outcomes were as good or better via telehealth. We now see that telemedicine solutions are becoming widespread globally. They help in creating efficiencies in the developed countries and can become central to the delivery of care in undeveloped countries. Pharmaceutical companies, and those in the pharmaceutical consulting sector, can use telemedicine for continuous engagement with healthcare professionals and patients for their areas of interest.

Find out more about how telemedicine can enhance your healthcare service offerings, by getting in touch with leading pharmaceutical consulting firm phamax today. Our experts are available to answer all your questions, free of charge with no obligation, so contact us now.

Infographic showing the data behind the evolution of telemedicine

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