As telehealth systems continue to gain acceptance in U.S. healthcare, new models will aim to expand the boundaries of care delivery, employing software-based telemedicine technology.
David Plummer, global business leader for Cisco Systems, Inc.’s HealthPresence, said that, looking forward, telemedicine systems are being designed with the goal of improving both patient and provider accessibility. This means designing systems to interoperate with users’ pre-existing interfaces and EHR systems, as well as integrating with medical devices such as digital stethoscopes, general exam cameras and picture archiving and communication systems.
Plummer said the industry is moving away from a “large, one-size-fits-all” telemedicine system – commonly a kiosk or pod-based system – to a single software-based solution, which allows for easier integration into a customized healthcare environment. Conversely, healthcare organizations can tailor the solution to their pre-existing technologies to create a scalable, flexible telehealth network. With a software-based telemedicine solution, providers need only medical devices that meet basic interoperability standards to bring them online.
What’s more, providers are seeing the increased accessibility offered by software-based telemedicine solutions as a business opportunity, expanding the reach of their physicians to remote users outside the hospital setting, such as local county schools, on-site corporate clinics and correctional facilities.
“Whether it’s accessing specialists or having to in to see a doctor, everyone has the same issues in terms of limited access to healthcare,” said Plummer, who will be presenting at the 18th Annual American Telemedicine Association Meeting this May.