March 17, 2015
The two hour wait at the doctor’s office will soon join the zeppelin, bows and arrows, and human sacrifice as anachronisms from the human past.
The future of medicine is in seamless access to patient data, HIPAA-compliant direct engagement between practitioners and patients, and managed remote care.
Like cars (Uber), flowers (Bloom That), and food delivery (seamless), doctors are now available on demand, through a startup called Pager. And the future of remote medical care is far more complex, and evolving far faster, than just demand medicine; a whole new ecosystem is being formed where the patient, rather than the provider, is the center of care.
Take, for example, the future of one of medicine’s largest markets and often used services, dermatology. The field is a prime candidate for evolution; busy patients rarely want to take a morning off of work to see a specialist; particularly if the issue feels elective or cosmetic rather than life threatening. SkyMD, a new New York startup by the former SVP for Product at Fab, allows patients to take a picture with the SkyMD app, send it remotely to a dermatologist, and receive a diagnosis without leaving their home or office.
“The quality of cameras in phones has greatly improved over the past few years, enabling patients to send photos of a skin problem to a dermatologist and receive a diagnosis and treatment plan virtually. By offering a more convenient alternative to the in office visit at a fraction of the cost, remote care is one of the most compelling solutions for improving access to healthcare,” said Eric Price, CEO of SkyMD.
Even more interesting to ponder is the future of how serious, ongoing medical care will be managed from the home. This, unlike individual diagnosis or specialist telemedicine visits, will need an entire systematic process of care management in place to be effective. This remote care system is the future of remote and on-demand medicine and, while the field is years away from ultimate fruition, technology already offers some promising early clues. Tonic Health, already used by ten of the nation’s top hospitals, simplifies patient data entry so that patients receive better targeted and more comprehensive care. Quantified Care, one of my own portfolio companies, has created a software platform that coordinates information between patients, home care agencies, and hospitals to provide better coordinated remote care.
“Today, most patients spend about 80% of the time they commit to managing their health alone, without any support. Remote care solutions enhance the patient experience by providing opportunities and tools for patients to proactively learn about, engage with, and manage their health much more easily,” said Michael Batista, the CEO of Quantified Care.
Like takeout, hailing cabs, and picking up flowers, visiting doctors will never become truly obsolete. But the future of medicine is remote, and technology is already bringing us tantalizing close to that goal.
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