Telemedicine as an opportunity for polish start-ups and the health service
Telemedicine, or the provision of remote medical services using modern technology is a hot topic at present. In the face of ageing societies and still unresolved problems linked to enormous queues to medical specialists, telemedicine has the opportunity to change the healthcare market.
Recently, the scientific publishing house of the prestigious Massachusetts Institute of Technology held a competition for the most breakthrough achievements of people under 35 years of age. The title of the Innovator of the Year was given to a Polish female scientist, Patrycja Wizińska-Socha. The doctoral student has created a prototype of Pregnabit – a portable measuring device which resembles a digital manometer. This device allows pregnant women to monitor the heart rate of the foetus, their own heart rate and other parameters which are submitted by wireless transmission to the Monitoring Centre. All this without having to leave one’s home.
The next three out of ten awarded projects are also linked to treatment using modern technology. The Smartphone Brain Scanner is a small and cost-effective system for testing the bioelectrical activity of the brain, which sends the results by a mobile signal and enables to diagnose epilepsy. Matia is a portable device which describes the surrounding world for those without sight by means of words, music and impulses which stimulate the senses. MySpiroo is also a portable device, which remotely monitors patients suffering from chronic diseases of the respiratory tract, for instance asthma.
There are many more examples of similar projects out there. In Unites States, there is already a non-invasive device to measure the concentration of glucose in the blood which cooperates with an insulin pump. Another innovation: in the event of an attack by cluster headache, it is now possible to place a controller against your cheek. Thanks to a simulator implanted by making a small notch above the second molar, the pain is reduced. Another exceptional device is a nerve simulator which is affixed against the temple. We can then send high-frequency electrical impulses to alleviate the pain. This gives the effect which is compared to having a cup of coffee or RedBull – it stimulates the state of tranquillity and provides you with a boost of energy for several hours! As we can see, telemedicine has different uses.
Remote measuring of selected health aspects (e.g. sugar level, heart rate, body temperature), with simultaneous aggregation of this data and automatic reaction to anomalies, is only one branch of telemedicine. The second includes remote consultations with doctors, for instance by phone, Skype and other video software.
Within that second branch, Telemedi.co is developing rapidly – a Polish platform for hosting remote consultations with doctors, in which Docplanner invested at the beginning of the year. In the opinion of doctors, remote consulting via specialised platforms work well with regular appointments, for instance those aimed to determine a further treatment course for a disease or chronic illness. It is a good solution for chronic diseases such as diabetes, asthma, and heart diseases, which are the scourge of the 21st century and which significantly increase the waiting period for a doctor’s appointment.
POLAND, LET’S INVEST IN TELEMEDICINE!
Doctors agree that telemedicine – at least for the time being – will not replace direct consultations with patients. However, it can significantly facilitate the work of healthcare representatives and provide concrete support in their treatment.
The American Forbes forecasts that telemedicine will become the industry with the highest net profit rate as soon as this year. Technological and financial services are only second and third in the ranking. This is not surprising, as in 2013, over 50 percent of hospitals in the United States used telemedicine solutions. Although in Poland it is mostly private healthcare which is investing in telemedicine at present (e.g. Medicover), the national healthcare is also attempting to take advantage of the opportunities provided by this industry. Moreover, according to Deloitte, the global market value of telemedicine in 2018 will amount to 21.5 billion dollars. It is encouraging that Poles have already made a contribution to this industry, but let’s hope there will be many more telemedicine ideas from Polish entrepreneurs.
Article appeared on the website: http://www.forbes.pl, 03-09-2016