On the evening of August 6th I had the privilege of being at Nemours Children’s Hospital for the Florida Healthcare Innovators Telehealth meetup. We had a fascinating demonstration of their telemedicine program and logistics center, which sparked some interesting conversation about the future of healthcare delivery.
Dr. Vyas, the medical director of Nemours telemedicine program, talked about parents wanting medical care that they need for their children when they need it and where they need it. Isn’t that the expectation we have from Amazon now? And shouldn’t it be the same for health care? Health care concerns and worries do not necessarily fit into the pre-scheduled, 9-5, Monday-Friday appointment slots we are used to waiting for. It’s the 4am fever that won’t go down or the medication side effect on Sunday morning that drive us to seek health care, and these don’t seem serious enough for an expensive emergency room visit. This is one of opportunities that telemedicine affords us.
And kids love it. With Facetime and mobile devices, children are far more comfortable with this technology while in their own home rather than talking to a bunch of adults in white coats in an exam room according to Dr Vyas. And providers, once they use telemedicine, are ready to embrace it for their patients that are comfortable with it. Next steps could be taking the information from wearables and tracking devices and incorporating it into the medical information for providers.
As a healthcare innovator, what do you need to consider in regards to telemedicine?
Certainly the basic technology is widely available but there are many avenues to build upon the concept. If telemedicine provides health care when and where we need it, what about the ancillary providers that are often overlooked yet are vitally important for developing our healthy behaviors? Tele-visits for dietitians take on a whole new dimension when you can show her the food in your refrigerator and cabinets. Mental health counseling could happen in the evenings after you are home from work, instead of driving to yet another appointment.
Then there are wearables, that could track not only activity and sleep habits, but what about adding blood pressure, heart rate, seizure activity? And the holy grail of data, how can telehealth visits and wearable information be summarized easily, without having to re-document or sift through thousands of data points? That innovation would give providers more time with patients and less time clicking through and typing in computer fields.
Healthcare delivery, moving towards an Amazon-like experience…maybe we will see drone delivery of medications?
Join us for our next meetup, an incredible Robotics forum on September 1st, so that you don’t miss great content and conversations that inspire!