The Doctor Will Skype You Now

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Big Data benefits of the smartphone continue to drive innovation throughout our economy, and the mHealth + Telehhealth World event in Boston this week convinced me the most sweeping gains might well center on healthcare.

The need for efficiency improvements is somewhat staggering.  Many large hospitals are running out of beds, with doctors in short supply.  Add in the economic productivity hit for patients that wait for hours to see a nurse or doctor, and there is plenty of room to tighten the belt.  Two facts from the conference tell a stark tale:

  • 25% of emergency room visits could have been managed remotely instead, according to figures from Rand Corp. that were distributed at the show by telehealth upstart Teladoc
  • Many preparation and post-surgery procedures can be handled remotely, according to Dr. Matthew Harting of the University of Texas Medical School in Houston

So all that time need not be wasted in hospital waiting rooms, thanks to wireless flows of data, images, voice and video.  Patients instead can relax where they are most comfortable.  As Dr. Harting put it, “healthcare is getting closer to the home.”  Dr. Shafiq Rab, CIO of Hackensack University Medical Center said later that day that “mobility is putting power in the hands of the patient.”

In fact, telehealth via remote data sharing might well change the definition of a hospital.  Like any business they want to grow, and the growth path is likely to be virtual rather than via bricks and mortar.

Such promising innovation is based on reliable integration of data across platforms.  For more information about how Attunity software can integrate Electronic Medical Records, click here.

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