An overview of the market for wireless and mobile ehealth.
When sites offering medical advice first appeared on the World Wide Web few GPs believed that, within a decade, they would encounter patients who used the Internet to become specialists in a particular ailment. Before the arrival of the ‘informed patient’ the GP was expected to provide a diagnosis, then recommend a course of treatment. Today many patients believe they already have a diagnosis and merely wish to have it confirmed by a series of tests. The question is no longer ‘Doctor what is wrong with me?’ but ‘Doctor when can my treatment begin?’ Mobile and wireless ehealth will enhance and broaden the scope of this type of self diagnosis.
The market for ehealth technology could be approaching a tipping point. In this report we look at a number of ehealth companies that have been formed by surgeons. We feel that companies such as Intelligent Medical Systems and Xenetec, that are run by clinicians with first hand experience of clinical processes, will accelerate the take up of wireless ehealth by giving credibility to ehealth as a technology and providing reference sites within the healthcare sector itself.
Peer pressure will drive the ehealth market, especially if consultants start reaping the benefits of venture capital backing and IPOs. The report states that, in the not too distant future, the ehealth market will enter a new phase where clinicians themselves encourage the automation of clinical processes.
This is happening as a new generation of ehealth products and services, based on wireless and mobile technology, is putting diagnosis and treatment management into the hands of the patient. Companies such as Card Guard and Vitaphone are offering suites of wireless ehealth applications – which include blood pressure, heart rate and blood glucose monitoring - to patients, with or without the support of a conventional healthcare provider.
This report describes 101 examples of the use of wireless and mobile technology in healthcare. While some of the applications are speculative, for example a mobile device to detect MRSA, others, such as SMS based patient reminders, have already been deployed and are earning revenue for vendors.
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