Remote medical services – the future of care
Today I wanted to share with you some thoughts on a topic that we’ve been focusing on quite a bit here, in the innovation center, and in a few of our companies – remote medicine through technology, or as you may all know it – telemedicine.
The internet and communication revolution of the 1990’s has played a major factor in changing many traditional industries, such as the banking and financial systems. These days we’re witnessing how it is shaping the future of medicine. You might think the revolution is already here with the start of digitization of patients’ data and wearable devices that can document all kinds of information and share it, but the truth is that we’re merely at the start.
There are a couple of challenges that a real disruption in telemedicine can help address in an affective way – the aging of the population and the lack of specialists and proper medical care in remote territories, mostly in developing countries but not exclusively. Here’s how a couple of our companies are tackling these problems with innovative solutions:
When looking at the first challenge, Japan can serve as a great example. At 84 years, the country has one of the highest life expectancies in the world; people over the age of 65 make up a quarter of Japan’s population, and it is on track to reach 40 per cent. As Japan is shifting its healthcare policy towards a more community-based approach, additional focus needs to be placed on homecare technologies, devices and appropriate training. Wellsense developed the VŪ, an Advanced Pressure Visualization System (APVS)™, which allows care-givers to easily identify, offload and redistribute pressure. This system is designed to combat pressure ulcers and injuries through an intuitive & easy-to-use device with telemedicine capabilities. The VŪ allows practitioners – and as importantly non-specialists such as family members – to monitor and prevent, even from afar, pressure wounds, common with the old and those who are not mobile.
In developing countries telemedicine holds the promise of overcoming large distances and acute lack of local qualified personnel and adequate equipment. Take for example, cervical cancer, the second most common cancer in developing areas. Early detection here is very effective & crucial in preventing the outburst of the disease and the deterioration of the patient’s condition. Illumigyn developed the gynescope™, a handled compact device with machine vision capabilities. Its cloud-based networking system will enable non-experts such as nurses and general practitioners in remote, rural and underserved locations to easily obtain cervical images as well as perform PAP tests – to be shared later with experts. Furthermore, it will enable ongoing monitoring and surgical guidance in complex procedures.
Despite the great advances in Artificial intelligence technologies, it is important to acknowledge that the need for the human eye and judgment is not likely to disappear in the foreseeable future. However, cutting-edge telemedicine technologies are maturing in all aspects: telesurgery, telemonitoring and teleconsultation. These breakthroughs will not eliminate the need for doctors but will enable new levels of effectiveness and reach per physician. As the adoption of these solutions continues, societies will benefit both in the developed world as well as in the emerging one.