The Telehealth Adoption Black Hole – Milton Chen, VSee

The telehealth industry’s biggest challenge is a lack of adoption among patients and consumers. Why aren’t more people using the telehealth technology available to them? Why is there a telemedicine adoption blackhole?

The problem is not in being able to do telemedicine – telemedicine pilots have been going on for decades.  Rather, the problem we must solve is how to cross the chasm from small pilot projects to mass market adoption. If you go to the American Telemedicine Association (ATA) trade show, there are plenty of debates about the root cause of this telemedicine adoption blackhole: licensure clarity, doctors don’t know how to get reimbursed for the virtual visits, data collected getting siloed. While these do play a role, Dr. Chen proposes that the true problem lies in the technology itself – that telemedicine provides a relatively poor user experience. If we can create that simple, amazing robust experience like WhatsApp or Google Search, then we can bridge that gap to mass adoption.

How Good Does Technology Need To Be for Telehealth Mass Adoption?

The question then becomes, how good of an experience is good enough.  We really don’t know. On the patient side there are plenty of simple tests we need to do. WebRTC has been batted around as the solution, but what about things connecting device peripherals? On the provider side, telemedicine is a productivity drain and we don’t want to make the same mistakes as EHR systems. We are still debating whether it’s better for patients to “click to call” a provider or whether providers should use a virtual waiting room to triage patients.  Therefore, our intention for the #TFSS conference is to explore these questions and solve these problems together.



Milton is a co-founder and CEO of VSee, the only approved video telehealth platform used by NASA astronauts aboard the International Space Station. He did his PhD at Stanford University where he researched human factors and design of video collaboration. Milton is also the co-author of the XMPP video standard, which is used by Google and Facebook Chat. He has deployed VSee for Hillary Clinton, Angelina Jolie, Linkin Park, and President Obama’s inauguration security force. Milton has been to Iraq, Nigeria, Gabon and Philippines working in refugee camps and homeless shelters to provide telemedicine.


Don’t miss the next #TFSS conference coming in the Fall of 2017! 

Comments ( 1 )
  • Michael Vegas Mussman
    Dr. Lawrence Wasserman PhD says:

    The challenge in telemedicine or telehealth is the viability of not only medical aspects but the economics. WE are seeing that these costs and return on investment becoming a key factor in the viability of tele … medicine, psychiatry etc.

    An example is Kiosks …. is it viable. There were many costly aspects that affected the performance and introduction in drug stores etc.

    Preventive care is the overlooked component in reducing health care costs, mortality and morbidity. And look forward to discussions on this subject matter.

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