How Is Telemedicine Changing Healthcare?

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In the past, Telemedicine was sort of in the domain of big universities, academic medical centers, government institutions, the military. It was big, it was bulky and it was really expensive. It took some years before things start to get comoditize in industry, technology get better or no longer have to depend on satellites and fiber optics and lot of things that made it big, bulky and inexpensive.

And so today we could reach out to people over the Internet in their homes or wherever they might be, commodity, often times free, and yet still we don't see the use of telemedicine the way we might expect. In my travels around the world quite frankly, I see more robust uses of telemedicine.

In the example of specialist reaching out to communities, I often think of my colleagues in Sydney Australia who do this quite frequently. Here in the US one of our issues is their are still a lot of arcane rules and regulations on the books. For example, a physician who wants to do a Telemedicine session with a patient in another state, under the rules has to be licensed in that other state.

That's an example that's compounding. It's only been [XX] recently that healthpayers, big insurance companies are I think starting realize the potential of actually lowering the cost of care and the ethicasy of care by applying tools like Telemedicine. And so you're we're seeing companies growing up, who are creating infrastructure that's needed to allow this.

You're seeing insurance companies saying you know what, if we can solve this person's problem with a $40 or $50 Telemedicine visit instead of a $300 ER visit, that makes up a lot of sense and so the tide is changing. It's not universal. There're still issues I find here in the US, for example real quick medicare and medicate reimbursement.

There are reimbursement schedules for visits with patients who are in remote areas, but not so much if you will say on the preferee[sp?] of a major metropolitan area. And yet, the reality is it might take you longer to lead you house and go to the center of the metropolitan area then it would to get some place for a rural area.

So, a lot of this is working progress. It's not about the technology so much today. It's about all of the other stuff that holds back the use of these technologies, and whether it's teller medicine, or remote monitoring, and all these things. And it's because of the business model, reimbursement, and then I would certainly say also, judicial cultures and behaviors in clinical practice.