Last week was HIMSS17, the biggest health IT conference and as per usual I ran around interviewing various techies. I’ll be releasing these interviews over the next few days and weeks–Matthew Holt
First up is a rather fun live demo I did with Cirrus MD‘s medical director Blake McKinney. Cirrus MD is a niche player in the telehealth space, and has spent the last few years building out a text-based tool which is now being rolled out in Colorado and Texas. How does it work in practice? Well funnily enough, I happened to have a medical condition that needed to be checked out by a doctor. So here’s a real impromptu demo that shows how it works and gives a good idea of the user experience.
When a family member was a new mom she called me concerned about her 7-day old baby’s breathing.I almost sent them to the ER. Then she asked me if we could FaceTime. What I saw was a warm, pink, dry baby looking around, looking quite well to me. I was able to tell that she had no labored breathing, no retractions or nasal flaring. She just had a little stuffy nose. I had been answering questions, treating minor ailments and triaging the acutely ill for several years via text, but it was in that moment that I knew the iPhone and other smartphone devices would fundamentally and forever change the way physicians can deliver our services.
Fast forward to next year. An estimated 2 billion people will have smartphones across the world in 2016. Industries are being transformed radically by the widespread uptake of these devices. Healthcare will be no different and will continue to move toward more virtual care enabled by smartphones. As the example above demonstrates, it makes sense for both care and economics.Virtual care and telemedicine worldwide is expected to be a $34 B market by 2020 according to Mordor’s Market Intelligence, with the US accounting for 40% of that, nearing $15 Billion in the next five years. Several early stage tele-medicine companies have raised many millions of dollars in the last several months.
Payment reforms are driving the market toward value-based care and will only accelerate the use of telemedicine via smartphone. Many new forms of payment for medical services are emerging that are not tied to the legacy fee-for-service reimbursement model. Patients are paying more out of pocket and therefore have increasingly aligned interests with payers to reduce costs while achieving better overall health. These changes are, in turn, driving the empowered healthcare consumers’ demand for a better experience and convenience.