Signs of Growth in Telemedicine

04/26/2017 06:58 am ET

Telehealth is undoubtedly going places, supported by a number of studies highlighting its benefits, both in terms of cost and quality of provision.  The sector is undergoing some significant changes at the moment as technology advances apace.

For instance, I wrote recently about TytoCare, who augment their standard telehealth platform with a range of devices to allow the user to perform a range of tests and examinations themselves.

These tools allow the user to examine the ears, throat, skin, heart, lungs, and temperature themselves, thus bridging a significant gap in the telehealth offering.  Traditionally, platforms were severely limited as clinicians could not perform diagnostic examinations of the patient remotely, which restricted the range of consultations they could perform.

Growth signs

Such innovations are shown in the growth of the sector.  For instance, Medici recently announced that they are rolling out across all 50 US states.

“The current healthcare model in the U.S. is fragmented and frustrating for both patients and their medical providers,” the company say. “Medici focuses on reinventing the doctor-patient relationship and reforming how healthcare is practiced and delivered by offering patients and medical professionals a more streamlined and compliant system of communication and record-keeping.”

Or you've got the $60 million investment British based telehealth pioneer Babylon recently made.  The investment was made into the AI platform the underpins their technology and aims to support medical diagnosis and predict personalized health outcomes globally. 

The investment is believed to be the largest of its kind in Europe, and follows a $25 million investment made last year.  That initial investment helped to deliver significant growth for the company, with:

  • Over 1 million app downloads,
  • An increase in global registrations of nearly 600% to 800k patients,
  • In Rwanda alone, almost 10% of the adult population registered with babylon in the first 6 months in what must be one of the fastest adopted technologies in a developing country to date,
  • Daily consultations and triage increased up to a factor of 9,
  • Additionally, over 4 out of 5 users rate babylon with a 5-star satisfaction rating.

The investment made this year is going to be used to help develop the AI capabilities of the platform so that it can provide diagnosis support to clinicians.  The company claim to have curated the largest knowledge graphs of medical content, with specific development work into deep learning techniques to help make sense of the data.

“Cutting edge artificial intelligence together with ever increasing advances in medicine means that the promise of global good health is nearer than most people realise. babylon scientists predict that we will shortly be able to diagnose and foresee personal health issues better than doctors, but this is about machines and medics co-operating not competing. Doctors do a lot more than diagnosis: artificial intelligence will be a tool that will allow doctors and health care professionals to become more accessible and affordable for everyone on earth. It will allow them to focus on the things that humans will be best at for a long time to come,” the company say.

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