In nearly every part of the world today, telemedicine and telehealth initiatives are viable in terms of technology, bandwidth availability, cost, and patient/physician acceptance. Organizations that use video telemedicine applications are experiencing a number of significant benefits, including the following:
- Improved patient care, including better quality, greater speed, access to more medical expertise, and frequency of patient/physician contact
- Shorter hospital stays and reduced rates of hospitalization for patients
- Improved staff communications, collaboration, and productivity
- Improved training and certification opportunities
- Reduced cost of care
- Competitive advantage and improved organizational public image in a unique marketplace that has both public and governmental pressures
The success of these deployments in clinics and hospitals leads to the next logical step: their availability in a home setting. Doctors tend to try to send patients home as soon as possible because they tend to feel better and heal faster in an environment where they are most comfortable. Because consumers have HDTVs and broadband at home in ever-greater numbers, it is not much of a leap to adding a camera and being able to contact your medical provider from your living room. When it is as simple as turning on your TV, it gives a whole new meaning to "the doctor will see you...now."