Bernie Monegain, Editor at Large,
According to a market research report by Modor Intelligence titled “Global Telemedicine Market – Growth, Trends and Forecasts (2015-2020)”, the market for telemedicine is expected to reach $34 billion.
Factors contributing the growth include an aging population, increasing incidence of chronic diseases, rapid rise in the software market, and a desire to monitor patients in their own homes to decrease healthcare costs. North America is the largest market, accounting for more than 40% of market size, however the scope of telemedicine is increasing in developing countries.
“Telemedicine has revolutionized medicine as it has not only made healthcare more accessible to the rural population but also taken the burden off the overburdened healthcare setup. The hospitals and clinics can cater to the critically ill, while everybody else can get a consult through a simple phone call or by videoconferencing. There are a number of telemedicine startups that are investing in the telemedicine market. The advancing technology has ensured that telemedicine is as good as going to the hospital and physically meeting the doctor. It also ensures that everyone has access to a specialist consult,” the report stated.
The Times of India
Telemedicine is not just a hot medical topic in the United States. The Times of India is reporting that the central jail in Nashik Road has installed a telemedicine system to allow doctors at the local hospital to provide advice on conditions affecting the inmates.
The jail has a 72 bed hospital facility. For serious illnesses, the inmates are transported to the civil hospital. Civil surgeon GM Holey of the civil hospital said, “Over the past one month or so quite a few medical cases of jail inmates have been taken up for discussion through the telemedicine system.”
The prison has had 2 cases of attempted escape by prisoners during trips to the civil hospital for evaluation. Officials hope that the use of telemedicine may help prevent such incidents in the future.
Egede LE, et al. Lancet Psychiatry. 2015; doi:10.1016/S2215-0366(15)00122-4.
Many patients with major depression do not have access to evidence based psychotherapy. This group in the Lancet Psychiatry hoped to demonstrate non-inferiority of therapy delivered via telemedicine as compared to in person therapy.
The study randomly assigned patients from the Ralph H. Johnson Veterans Affairs Medical Center and four surrounding clinics being treated for depression. to eight sessions of either therapy via telemedicine or delivered in the same room. The primary outcome measured was treatment response according to the Geriatric Depression Scale, Beck Depression Inventory, and Structured Clinical Interview.
The study found that the response on all three measures was the same and non-inferior in the telemedicine group compared to the in-person group. “Telemedicine-delivered psychotherapy for older adults with major depression is not inferior to same-room treatment,” the researchers wrote. “This finding shows that evidence-based psychotherapy can be delivered, without modification, via home-based telemedicine, and that this method can be used to overcome barriers to care associated with distance from and difficulty with attendance at in-person sessions in older adults.”