In 2000, a movie came out called “The Perfect Storm”, wow - almost 11 years ago now and still remembering it well! This was a sea-faring disaster film starring George Clooney, Mark Wahlberg and Diane Lane. In summary a small commercial 40-foot fishing boat, with Captain “George Clooney”, heads out of port one more time to prove they still have what it takes to bring in a respectable load of fish and make the money they need to live on. They venture out to some new waters and catch a boat load of fish but their ice machine fails so rather than wait out rough weather they decide to head back to port, through it, so the catch/cargo doesn’t spoil. To add to it all, on the way back they lose radio contact which was kinda predictable.
The weatherman was tracking the confluence of two major storm fronts and a hurricane at which point he states, excitedly, it will create “the perfect storm” . You can probably guess that the fishing boat ended up in the middle of this massive storm and was last seen trying to ride over an enormous 100ft+ wave. Sadly but expectedly the boat overturns with boat and crew being lost. The movie ends with a memorial service for those that went out to sea but never returned.
So what the heck does this have to do with telemedicine today? From my observations, research and tracking there is a perfect storm brewing but rather than being negative, it could build into an enormous wave of opportunity for the advancement of healthcare.
Besides the already existing sea of opportunity in telemed consultations being held from a local or remote practice / clinic / hospital / emergency in-field laptop to a specialist(s) or specialty hospital(s) virtually anywhere around the world there will soon be an expanded prescribed at-home and mobile patient monitoring / consultation / treatment planning opportunity.
So what are these storm fronts / pressure cells that will create this massive opportunity wave?
Let’s list some:
The group's Center for Workforce Studies released new estimates that showed shortages would be 50 percent worse in 2015 than forecast.
"While previous projections showed a baseline shortage of 39,600 doctors in 2015, current estimates bring that number closer to 63,000, with a worsening of shortages through 2025," the group said in a statement.
"The United States already was struggling with a critical physician shortage and the problem will only be exacerbated as 32 million Americans acquire health care coverage, and an additional 36 million people enter Medicare."”
Only a small sampling of excerpts of related newsworthy articles were presented here, to try to present all or most would just be impossible and probably boring. As you can see by what was presented and the dates of publishing, the storm fronts are developing, intensifying and converging. Technology, hardware, software, infrastructure (networks), necessity for healthcare professionals to become more efficient/improve quality and consumer accepting technology are creating an enormous wave of exciting opportunities, limited only by money and the imagination, for the consumer/patient, healthcare professional and technology services/products provider. The disaster will ultimately be for those who ignore or try to hold back the perfect storm (there still remains some issues of some insurers not paying for telemed services but that is currently under active discussion / negotiations / lobbying).
If there are opportunities you would like to explore with me / Green Smart Consulting LLC, please don’t hesitate to contact me at pendrasik@GreenSmartLLC.com.
To learn more about telemedicine the American Telemedicine Association (ATA), http://www.americantelemed.org/ , is the leading resource and advocate promoting access to medical care for consumers and health professionals via telecommunications technology.