Technology and the health industry
The annual American Telemedicine Association Conference and Expo took place recently in Los Angeles, California. The American Telemedicine Association is dedicated to discovering and promoting the usage of remote medical technologies to better the quality, fairness and access to health care worldwide.
Alejandra Oraa, the host of the show Café on CNN en Español, invited the Latin American tech expert Ariel Coro and Dr. Jose Luis Mosquera, health expert for Consumer Reports, to speak about the latest trends showcased at the event.
Coro explained that telemedicine is part of the new technological advancements that better the lives of humans and that this development in particular allows those that are sick to contact a doctor, be taken care of and diagnosed, all from the comfort of their own home. It’s, in his words, “treating a patient remotely, leveraging modern medicine”.
There are many advantages to this practice, among them is accessibility, since no matter where the patient is located, he or she can have access to the needed medical attention. If the patient is located in a remote location with poor access to health systems, or resides in another country and wants a medical opinion from a doctor abroad, in both instances they can have access to the consultation they need. Another advantage is convenience; even if the patient lives near a good health system, they can still save themselves the trip, nor do they have to call out of work unnecessarily.
One could say that the only real disadvantage is the lack of direct human contact, but since smartphones are getting more and more advanced, with cameras of higher and higher resolution, it really is like you are in person, face to face with your doctor.
“These telemedicine consultations can be made via Skype or another system that is similar, through the smartphone, tablet or computer of the sick individual,” assured Coro. “In addition, there are new tech accessories for diagnosing patients that can be connected to a smartphone or tablet, that measure blood pressure, heartbeat, check the ear canal, measure pulse and even be inserted into the mouth so that the doctor can receive a signal, in real-time or via email, to see the actual throat of the patient remotely.”
Alejandra asked the expert panel how feasible these types of consults were, to which Coro and Mosquera responded that, “A patient can be diagnosed and prescribed so long as a patient has access to these technologies. In some countries, the sophistication of this technology has allowed remote robotic surgeries to take place, where a doctor is in one country and performs a surgery in another”.
“Many of these medical tech tools are still in development, Coro stated. “ The Israeli company Tyto, is working on a gadget that records the heart, examines the ear, measures pulse and is also placed in the mouth to examine patient’s tonsils. I am sure that as time goes by, many more tools such as this will be developed,” concluded Coro.