Understanding the business of online care
The real challenge in telehealth today isn’t technology. It was telehealth early adopters who had to battle through third world-like internet connectivity, expensive hardware-based solutions, a lack of industry standards, a relatively non-existent funding stream and a wall of health industry resistance.
Today, we are spoiled for choice when it comes to technology. Inexpensive and free, web-based video conferencing solutions abound, some of which are even interoperable. Broadband and 4G internet is now widely available throughout the country and some parts have access to the NBN. There is a funding stream, via Medicare, that has enabled telehealth to climb out of the closet and into the mainstream, whilst the RACGP and many specialist colleges have created technical and clinical standards to assist clinicians with delivering care online efficaciously.
The real challenge in telehealth today lies in creating sustainable, profitable business models that can meet the needs of governments, service operators, practices and, of course, patients.
While frame rates, compression, 128-bit encryption and other technology terms have dominated telehealth discussions over the last few years, we need to focus on scalability and sustainability to ensure the industry’s existing investments have not been in vain.
Posted in Australian eHealth