Telemedicine: Accessing On-demand Healthcare
Healthcare is moving from doctors’ offices and hospitals to the digital kiosk and mobile phone. Millions of consumers can now consult with doctors by video, thanks to innovative start-ups, insurers, and employers who recognize the cost savings in treating people where they are. Mobile medicine is a natural fit for those used to shopping and working online. In a recent study by consultancy PwC, 72% of respondents aged 18 to 44 said they would be willing to consult with a mental health provider via video or other telehealth services.
With electronic health records, the risk of damaging drug interactions and patient abuse is likely to decrease. Even with biometrics and enhanced security to protect patient confidentiality, though, the digitization of health will raise concerns about hacking and privacy.
The innovations are as transformative for healthcare providers as they are for patients. With mobile connectivity, an eye surgeon in New York can assist a field worker doing procedures in rural Ghana and enable a tropical disease specialist in Mumbai to diagnose a traveller returning home to Sydney. Through artificial intelligence and virtual reality, doctors might do remote procedures themselves. Mobility will alter the workflow of everyone involved in the healthcare process. Doctors and other healthcare workers will carry tablets and other devices that enable access to patients’ electronic health records.
Innovations once developed for rural or developing markets, such as low-cost mobile MRIs, could become everyday products in Sydney or Paris as patients increasingly demand access to their own diagnostic tools. Kiosks with cutting-edge technology and high-definition monitors could displace the doctor’s office as basic care goes mobile and the seriously ill are sent straight to hospital. Freed from the shackles of offices and constant paperwork, doctors offer to do more house calls or offer concierge services to those who want a more personal touch.
- Telehealth kiosks and mobile medical services make basic medical care accessible from anywhere, and enable more at-home monitoring of chronic conditions.
- Health workers who once carried pagers and clipboards are now sporting tablets and devices that give access to patients’ electronic records.
- Mobility allows the practice of medicine to go global, enabling remote surgery and diagnosis.
American Well, The Health Kiosk
American Well’s telehealth kiosks offer walk-in, unscheduled visits where patients can get immediate remote access to a board-certified physician, dietitian, or behavioural health counselor. Using a combination of biometric and remote monitoring devices, the kiosks allow healthcare workers to remotely verify the identity of patients and provide live consultations in a private setting. A doctor can diagnose basic ailments and electronically issue prescriptions or referrals. The touchscreen-operated kiosks can be enclosed to operate as standalone pods in public locations or operate as console models that are put in private locations in the workplace or other settings.