The state of the telemedicine industry Part II
After detailing the large strides made in the industry, contributor JT Ripton discusses new trends such as wearables and WebRTC in part two.
Wearables and Consumables Are On the Rise
In the past few years, wearable technology like the FitBit, which monitors a few key health metrics, has mainly been a consumer driven market. In 2016, wearables and consumables will start to really break into the healthcare industry.
RELATED TOPIC: The state of the telemedicine industry Part I
With health products like the HealthPatch MD, a reusable biosensor with ECG electrodes that are embedded into a disposable patch that is able to monitor a patient’s vital signs, keep track of breathing, monitor heart rate, check temperature, and look at other vitals, it is easy to then relay that information to health care physicians in-order to keep tabs on their patients.
They can even tell if a patient has fallen with an accelerometer.
Another example, in this case is a consumable pill called Helius by Proteus Digital, that is able to track vital internal health information from within the patient in real time and is able to communicate that information to the Helius companion app which your doctor can assess.
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The Helius will also be able to tell doctors if a patient is taking their prescriptions at the correct time and alert them if they’re having any adverse reactions to their medications or therapies.
With the technological abilities of wearables rapidly getting more advanced and common-place, wearables will only gain in popularity and in some cases necessity throughout 2016 and for years after.
Proprietary Tele-Health Components Become Obsolete
Expensive proprietary unified communications systems, which were the norm only on a few years ago, are outdated, expensive, and complicated.
RELATED TOPIC: How WebRTC will revolutionize the healthcare industry
With emerging telecommunication standards like WebRTC, which integrate easily into mobile apps and mobile sites, a healthcare provider now has the flexibility to use the device of his or her choice, whether that’s a PC, smartphones, or tablets in order to visually communicate with patients.
Healthcare providers are also now seeking out specialty-specific telehealth software or apps that are used across all of these devices using open networks. As less expensive and more intuitive telehealth options arise, the reliance on proprietary unified communication tools is in sharp decline.
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These trends will drive down the price of cloud-based communication methods and democratize telemedicine for those all over the world. As telemedicine technology advances and becomes easier to integrate and use, healthcare will become more accessible and more affordable in 2016 and beyond.
Skin Analytics wins NHSX award for AI skin cancer tool
An artificial intelligence-driven tool that identifies skin cancers has received an award from NHSX, the NHS England and Department of Health and Social Care's initiative to bring technology into the UK's national health system.
NHSX has granted the Artificial Intelligence in Health and Care Award to DERM, an AI solution that can identify 11 types of skin lesion.
Developed by Skin Analytics, DERM analyses images of skin lesions using algorithms. Within primary care, Skin Analytics will be used as an additional tool to help doctors with their decision making.
In secondary care, it enables AI telehealth hubs to support dermatologists with triage, directing patients to the right next step. This will help speed up diagnosis, and patients with benign skin lesions can be identified earlier, redirecting them away from dermatology departments that are at full capacity due to the COVID-19 backlog.
Cancer Research has called the impact of the pandemic on cancer services "devastating", with a 42% drop in the number of people starting cancer treatment after screening.
DERM is already in use at University Hospitals Birmingham and Mid and South Essex Health & Care Partnership, where it has led to a significant reduction in unnecessary referrals to hospital.
Now NHSX have granted it the Phase 4 AI in Health and Care Award, making DERM available to clinicians across the country. Overall this award makes £140 million available over four years to accelerate the use of artificial intelligence technologies which meet the aims of the NHS Long Term Plan.
Dr Lucy Thomas, Consultant Dermatologist at Chelsea & Westminster Hospital, said: “Skin Analytics’ receipt of this award is great news for the NHS and dermatology departments. It will allow us to gather real-world data to demonstrate the benefits of AI on patient pathways and workforce challenges.
"Like many services, dermatology has severe backlogs due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This award couldn't have come at a better time to aid recovery and give us more time with the patients most in need of our help.”