The efforts of the eHealth movement have been quietly gathering steam for the last five years and are finally fulminating into what could be a significant transformation in the management of health and health care. The most encouraging sign of change is that it consists of not just the usual shiny new technology solutions, but more importantly, structural changes in the public health system:
The 80% slim-down of the doctor’s office visit…
- Telemedicine reimbursement: As of March 2011, only 12 states offered reimbursement for telemedicine services (e.g.; telephone, email, video consultation), and at lower rates than in-office visits. Now more payers and states are starting to approve telemedicine reimbursement, which could be a huge cost savings for the industry as it is estimated that 70% of physician consultations could be handled by phone.
- Majority of diagnosis is straightforward: It is estimated that in 18/20 cases (per Singularity University FutureMed), diagnosis is straightforward, and could be accomplished via telemedicine.
- Trend to higher deductible plans: many programs are underway to transfer employees to higher-deductible plans which both reduces costs and puts more of an emphasis on preventive medicine.
- Health sensors, examples: continuous glucose monitoring patches, EEG sensors, ambient assisted living
- Quantified self-tracking devices, examples: Fitbit, Zeo sleep tracking, Body Media, Pebble Watch, Nike Fuel Band, Basis Watch
- mHealth (mobile health) apps, examples: The Eatery, MoodPanda, Map My Run, Cardio Trainer