Telemedicine is an idea that has been talked up for decades, but it looks as if it’s finally coming into its own.
Thursday’s news that iRobot’s medical robot, which would let doctors talk to and monitor patients remotely, stoked interest across the web. But ‘robodocs’ are just one way telemedicine could keep healthcare costs down, improve care and increase access to patients in remote communities.
The American Telemedicine Association (ATA) estimates that 10 million Americans directly benefited from some sort of telemedicine service in the past year, with clinical applications, like those for radiology and emergency room services leading the pack. A report this month projected that telehealth would grow 53 percent in 2013 and six-fold by 2017.
Aside from the rise of sensors, expanded broadband access and the ubiquity of connected and mobile devices among patients and doctors, several health-specific trends are making remote care more of…