Is telemedicine finally reaching its tipping point? A comprehensive feature article in the August 2010 issue of Clinica (subscription required to access content) makes the case that “early fears about telehealth’s reliability and privacy are subsiding, just as the economic case for its wider uptake is becoming more compelling.” And just last week, Cambridge Consultants made public a technology survey that revealed that almost 43% of respondents think that technological developments in healthcare will have the most influence on their lives in the next 50 years. Wireless communications came in a distant second, getting the votes of almost 21% of participants. “An alignment of the two areas could prove most powerful as the survey also revealed that, of all of the future healthcare developments, remote patient monitoring systems are expected to have the greatest impact,” according to Cambridge Consultants.
“It is refreshing to see that consumers recognise the value of technological advancements in healthcare and, particularly, the potential of remote patient monitoring,” comments Andy Diston, Global Medtech Practice Leader at Cambridge Consultants. Echoing Clinica‘s point, the consultancy cites shrinking healthcare budgets and inescapable demographic trends as the fundamental drivers of these new healthcare technologies.
“We believe that wireless technology is going to revolutionise health services,” noted Cambridge Consultants in a press release announcing the results of the survey. “We now have a cost-effective technology platform that enables remote health data collection, and our vision is of a web-based interface, where users would be able to customise different applications to suit their needs and conditions. For example, an asthmatic patient could tailor his or her portal to see various types of information – charts of their recent inhaler use, reminders for refilling prescriptions or doctor’s appointments, lung function data via a peak flow chart – all juxtaposed against the coming week’s pollen forecast.”
The online survey was conducted as part of Cambridge Consultants’ 50th anniversary. It received more than 1000 responses. The consultancy made a £1 donation to Macmillan Cancer Support for each completed survey.