A child develops an alarming cough in the middle of the night, so her dad pulls out his smartphone and connects with a doctor, who makes a virtual house call. A conference-goer changing planes in Europe on the way to Asia doesn’t feel well, so she checks into a medical kiosk for a scan. Telemedicine is already here, along with these options and more for remotely accessing healthcare. But telemedicine has only just begun to realize its potential.
The converging forces of a growing population living longer and advances in cloud technologies have helped start a medical revolution. Telemedicine will give greater access to more care for millions of people who couldn’t otherwise get it. That’s why telemedicine makes our list of cloud technologies changing the world.
Care Anywhere, Anytime
The World Health Organization estimates that nearly half (45%) of its 191 member countries have fewer than 1 doctor per 1,000 people. There simply aren’t enough healthcare providers to go around. That’s where telemedicine is already making a difference, thanks to cloud technology made possible by data centers, including those of T5 Data Centers.
Going beyond the smartphone and laptop for access to healthcare, OnMed launched its walk-in telemedical kiosk in early 2019. The company is bringing the kiosks to airports, shopping centers, and other high traffic areas for patients to get treatment wherever convenient, not just at clinics. The system takes blood pressure, temperature, and other vital signs, and sends the data through the cloud to a healthcare professional who further assesses the patient with the help of high-resolution video conferencing. After making a diagnosis, the provider can then deliver prescriptions right then and there from the built-in dispenser.
The Future of Remote Medicine
Meanwhile, the first telesurgical procedures have already taken place. In December 2018, a surgeon in India performed cardiac surgery on a patient 20 miles away. In March 2019, a surgeon operated on a patient’s brain 2,000 miles away.
One of the challenges of remote surgery is dealing with the latency inherent in many of today’s commercial networks. The delay between the time the surgeon moves an instrument and receives feedback on the result could prove dangerous to a patient. XSurgical, makers of the Gamma surgical robot, says it has a solution. Its artificial intelligence compensates for lag time when guiding instruments inside a patient’s body to avoid overshooting and causing damage.
Given all the advances, a recent Global Market Insight report predicts that telemedicine will more than triple its 2018 market share by 2025—from $38.3 billion to $130.5 billion. Along the way, data centers—key for the cloud infrastructure needed for telemedicine of all kinds—will play an important role.
“Robust data centers will keep growing in importance as medical innovations based upon technology take hold,” says Tim Bright, Executive Vice President for Enterprise Markets at T5 Data Centers. “It’s one thing to get annoyed when your internet connection or the movie you’re watching goes down, but somebody’s life may be on the line if a data center containing your medical information suffers an outage.”
Besides state-of-the-art data centers, faster connections enabled by next-generation 5G networks will also allow telemedical applications to advance. 5G is the focus of our next post on cloud technologies poised to change the world.