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Recent Developments in Telemedicine

Peter Killcommons

· Telemedicine

Peter “Pete” Killcommons is the chief executive officer of Medweb in San Francisco, California, which produces medical devices and software. As CEO, Peter Killcommons oversees the telemedicine division of his company.

In telemedicine, health professionals use online technology to connect with patients away from the office. (The word is similar to another popular term, telehealth, which, unlike telemedicine, can include non-clinical communications.) Telemedicine enables patients to save travel time and reduce medical bills, while also reducing the cost to offices of missed and cancelled appointments. In the past 2 years, several changes have occurred in the telemedicine industry:

- Collecting data. Telemedical sessions allow instant access to patient information, such as heart rate and even electrocardiogram data. Moreover, doctors can analyze results from a large group of patients to determine which treatments work best.
- Networked information storage. A large majority of doctors (80 percent in 2015) send and receive data via their mobile phones. On a larger scale, health care facilities and insurance companies store their information on networked servers, giving patients access at any time.
- Security. The prevalence of hackers makes data protection essential. Telemedical technology can ensure that HIPAA privacy standards are enforced, and encrypt smartphone transmissions.
- Improved apps. Personalized software allows doctors to choose optimal data formatting. The field has developed several apps, such as Amwell, MDLIVE, and Express Care Virtual.
- Financial support. The ever-changing nature of telemedicine attracts many investors. Mergers are allowing smaller companies to continue to innovate as the field expands into overseas markets.

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