How to survive the digital health gold rush with telemedicine and finding the blueprint to tackle doctor shortages
The current digital health ageing is being flooded by a myriad of applications in a digital health “gold rush” as everyone seeks to solve the two problems of doing telemedicine in an ageing Japan and overcoming doctor shortages. VSee is simultaneously addressing both these problems.
First, VSee’s remote telemedicine platform has adopted a very simple intuitive interface, that ’s easy for anyone to use. In existing remote medical treatment, it has been difficult to conduct remote medical examinations by video communication because it’s so complicated. VSee provides a free video call application. It’s developed in-house and supports group video or voice call and text chat. In addition, it makes it easy to share every application with one click. Moreover, it is characterized by having advanced security.
Because it has succeeded in overcoming such difficulties. Elderly people and patients with chronic diseases can undergo a medical examination at home or take data such as blood glucose levels and share it with their doctor.
Even in areas without medical facilities such as Iraq, Syria, Africa, Somalia, it is possible to treat by remote diagnosis. In such areas, coupling VSee with telemedicine kit in a suitcase can turn any room to a proper doctor consultation room.
“The current health care challenge is a market shortage, not a physician shortage”
To address the doctor shortage, VSee created its medical network – This American Doc. We live in a world where we are screaming about doctor shortages. But what we really have is a “market shortage” not a “doctor shortage.” VSee believes if a doctor’s working hours could be divided into smaller pieces and if their free time could be put on the market, the shortage of doctors could be solved.
This American Doc makes this physician staffing arrangement possible. It matches doctors or speciality doctors to cope with shortages in small clinics in remote areas or hospitals during holiday seasons. Efficient staffing will help eliminate ‘doctor shortage’ problem.
Is digital health a “gold rush”? What’s the present and future of healthcare market from an expert point of view?
Currently, up to 250,000 digital health applications are being developed because digital health is being regarded as a ‘gold mine. These applications provide solutions that can help in cost savings, provide more efficient workflow and better healthcare quality to the patients.
However, as the digital health market gets bigger and more apps being developed, a lot of so-called ‘stars’ will be forgotten in less than 2 years.
Then, what are the criteria to survive? The answer lies in design. Looking at messaging applications that are widely adopted, such as “Snapchat” and “LINE”. Both have good design.
First, a design has to be good for both general users and patients. Applications that are difficult to use are rarely adopted no matter how good the solutions are.
Second, a design has to be good or simple to use for the doctor. For patients, its little cost for them to use a new app, but for the provider, there is an intrinsic cost of adopting the new technology into their workflow or health system.
The staff in charge of bringing this new technology to the company must justify the revenue, productivity and benefits of it. In other words, a good design is essential and will increase the productivity of medical staff.
By satisfying both parties, it is possible to make a digital health application which will be used years after years.
What is the telemedicine blueprint for Japan to solve its medical problems?
There are many countries where medical systems are underdeveloped around the world, but Japan is in a very blessed environment compared to these countries. For example, in the Philippines about half of the population dies without seeing a doctor who has a doctor’s license. Its land pattern with many isolated islands is one cause, and telemedicine can improve this situation.
So, If we focus on the educating doctors, human resources and medical staff to use digital health, medical care is expected to progress.
In Japan, the medical system is very developed but they are dealing with a huge ageing population and that can get very expensive and unsustainable. To reach the next phase, Japan needs to shift from a hospital-centred to a decentralized care model.
The medical system needs to distribute its care system with more visiting care or home care models to reduce strain on hospitals. By using telemedicine software with good design, it will be more cost effective to monitor its ageing population and provide better healthcare access for them.
This is a highlight from Health 2.0 Asia keynote speech delivered by Dr. Milton Chen, CEO of VSee – telehealth system used by companies such as Walgreens, Shell, and NASA on the Space Station. Health 2.0 Asia – Japan 2017 held in Shibuya Hikarie, December 5-6, 2017, is the world’s largest and most active global digital health conference.