These are highlights from Health 2.0 Asia keynote speech delivered by Dr. Milton Chen, CEO of VSee – the telehealth system used by companies such as Walgreens, Shell, and NASA on the International Space Station. This conference was held in Shibuya Hikarie, Japan on December 5-6, 2017. Health 2.0 is a global movement of over 100,000+ entrepreneurs, developers, and healthcare stakeholders with digital health conferences and events all over the world.
How to survive the digital health gold rush with telemedicine and finding the blueprint to tackle doctor shortages
The current digital health aging market 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 aging 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 we believe that what we really have is a “market shortage” not a “doctor shortage.” We believe that if a doctor’s working hours could be divided into smaller pieces and if we could put their “free time” on the market, the shortage of doctors could be solved.
Through telehealth technology and sharing economy model, This American Doc makes this physician staffing arrangement possible. It matches doctors or specialty 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, nearly 250,000 digital health applications are being developed to make the most of the digital health ‘gold mine. These applications provide solutions that can help in cost savings, providing more efficient workflows, and better quality healthcare to patients.
However, in the next 2 years, as the digital health market gets bigger and more apps are developed, a lot of so-called ‘stars’ will quickly get left behind.
Then, what are the criteria to survive? The answer lies in design. If we look at the example of messaging apps that have been able to survive —”Snapchat” and “LINE” — the secret is 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-centered to a decentralized care model.
The medical system needs to distribute its care system using 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 aging population and provide better healthcare access for all.