The use of telemedicine is surging due to the rise of healthcare tech
Although amazing advances unceasingly occur in drug development and medical procedures, delivery of health care services to patients has been woefully slow to embrace technology. It took a federal government mandate in 2014 to force health care providers in the US to adopt and demonstrate "meaningful use" of electronic medical records (EMR) in order to maintain Medicare and Medicaid reimbursement levels.
Since the mandate, the use of EMR's has expanded worldwide, improving quality, safety and efficiencies throughout health organisations globally.
However, healthcare remains apart from all other industries in the efficient conveyance of patient services, which is most acutely felt among the millions of Americans who live in underserved rural areas. These regions suffer from a chronic shortage of primary care physicians and, even more critically, specialty care physicians.
Urban-based health companies have little incentive to expand footprints into sparsely populated communities, and the promises that telemedicine would fill this critical void have fallen far short of expectations. This dilemma presents an enormous societal challenge, but, conversely, it presents an even greater opportunity for health care companies that provide operative solutions.
The telemedicine market in the United States is therefore forecast to exceed $13 billion by 2021, according to consulting firm Pharmaion. An ageing population, the rising incidence of chronic diseases and spiralling healthcare costs are making telemedicine one of the fastest growing sectors in health care.
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By utilising telemedicine, medical professionals are able to deliver medical care in real-time to patients from remote locations, evaluate their symptoms and then ascertain whether they need to be sent for urgent treatment, all through the use of developing technologies.
Organisations and acute healthcare settings have consequently adopted this technology to further support patients and give patients greater flexibility. UC Davis Health has built its own telemedicine clinic, whilst the University of Maryland Medical System (UMMS) works to deliver clinic programs to its providers throughout the region.
“Many telemedicine services have been provider-driven,” Marc Zubrow, MD., Vice President of telemedicine for UMMS and medical director of its eCare program has reportedly said. “A hospital on the Eastern Shore might decide it needs emergency paediatric care or cardiology support through telemedicine.”
Additionally, healthcare giant Kaiser Permanente has enabled its medical staff to hold videocalls to support patients who are unable to travel to its medical facilities. Providing exceptional patient support directly at the patient’s bedside.
“Providing healthcare access to individuals in remote locations drove the second wave of telemedicine’s growth, following an initial emphasis on improving efficiency, commented Richard Bakalar, MD., Managing Director at healthcare advisory services for KPMG. “The “third wave is about access, satisfaction and cost,” he says. “The other key driver is consumerism.”
Realising that the advantages of digital healthcare technology far outweigh the minimal risks, telemedicine provider Avizia has also recently acquired telemedicine start-up Carena to further its growth strategy and gain access to a highly skilled workforce to develop its service delivery further.
Check Point: Securing the future of enterprise IT
Cybersecurity solutions provider Check Point was founded in 1993 with a mission to secure ‘everything,’ and that includes the cloud. Conscious that nothing remains static in the digital world, the company prides itself on an ability to integrate new technology with its solutions. Across almost three decades in operation, Check Point, with its team of over 3,500 experts, has become adept at protecting networks, endpoints, mobile, IoT, and cloud.
“The pandemic has been somewhat of an accelerator in the evolution of cyber risk,” explains Erez Yarkoni, Global VP for Cloud Business. “We had remote workers and cloud adoption a long time beforehand, but now the volume and surface area is far greater.” Formerly a CIO for several big-name telcos before joining Check Point in 2019, Yarkoni considers the cloud to be “part of [his] heritage” and one of modern IT’s most valuable tools.
Check Point has three important ‘product families’, Quantum, CloudGuard, and Harmony, with each one providing another layer of holistic IT protection:
- Quantum: secures enterprise networks from sophisticated cyber attacks
- CloudGuard: acts as a scalable and unified cloud-native security platform for the protection of any cloud
- Harmony: protects remote users and devices from cyber threats that might compromise organisational data
However, more than just providing security, Yarkoni emphasises the need for software to be proactive and minimise the possibility of threats in the first instance. This is something Check Point assuredly delivers, “the industry recognises that preventing, not just detecting, is crucial. Check Point has one platform that gives customers the end-to-end cover they need; they don't have to go anywhere else. That level of threat prevention capability is core to our DNA and across all three product lines.”
In many ways, Check Point’s solutions’ capabilities have actually converged to meet the exact working requirements of contemporary enterprise IT. As more companies embark on their own digital transformation journeys in the wake of COVID-19, the inevitability of unforeseen threats increases, which also makes forming security-based partnerships essential. Healthcare of Ontario Pension Plan (HOOPP) sought out Check Point for this very reason when it was in the process of selecting Microsoft Azure as its cloud provider. “Let's be clear: Azure is a secure cloud, but when you operate in a cloud you need several layers of security and governance to prevent mistakes from becoming risks,” Yarkoni clarifies.
The partnership is a distinctly three-way split, with each bringing its own core expertise and competencies. More than that, Check Point, HOOPP and Microsoft are all invested in deepening their understanding of each other at an engineering and developmental level. “Both of our organisations (Check Point and Microsoft) are customer-obsessed: we look at the problem from the eyes of the customer and ask, ‘Are we creating value?’” That kind of focus is proving to be invaluable in the digital era, when the challenges and threats of tomorrow remain unpredictable. In this climate, only the best protected will survive and Check Point is standing by, ready to help.
“HOOPP is an amazing organisation,” concludes Yarkoni. “For us to be successful with a customer and be selected as a partner is actually a badge of honor. It says, ‘We passed a very intense and in-depth inspection by very smart people,’ and for me that’s the best thing about working with organisations like HOOPP.”