Converging Megatrends

March 21, 2014 by By InTouch Health

In a recent blog, Dr. Joseph Kvedar from the Center for Connected Health discussed how three “megatrends” are combining to give new impetus and immediacy to telemedicine.

The first trend is the sea change in healthcare reimbursement – from volume to value. For decades, many patients seeking treatment for severe heartburn were put through a dizzying array of tests and scans to rule out possible heart problems. Those tests were obviously of little value in determining the root cause of the problem. We now have a healthcare system that’s moving steadily toward a more sensible reimbursement paradigm.

The second trend is that consumers are getting increasingly smarter about healthcare costs, provider options, and ways to get personally involved in their own well-being. Thanks to the Internet, patients are much more engaged in the process rather than being passive participants.

Finally, most patients are now completely comfortable with mobile technology, which makes them much more receptive to innovations in connected health. Smartphones, tablets and touch screens are now commonplace – and most patients have no problem with a specialist on the East Coast assessing their condition in the Pacific Northwest. Most patients now readily agree that a provider’s time zone is far less important than the timeliness and quality of treatment.

When powerful megatrends merge, the world is forever transformed. For instance, when cheap oil and modern logistics came together, FedEx and Walmart became pioneers in the global supply chain. In similar fashion, the confluence of three megatrends is fueling telemedicine. Like the rivers that feed the Mississippi, these trends are creating a movement that can’t be stopped.