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Telehealth, Including Telesurgery, Expected to Rapidly Expand

January 17, 2012
at 7:29 am PST

We’ve seen some great examples of how telehealth services help reach patients living in rural areas that lack easy access to medical care. With telepresence technology, these patients can have face-to-face visits with their doctors as frequently as needed, without having to leave home or face long commutes to the hospital.

Knowing how much the people using these telehealth services rely on their high-quality, convenient patient care, it is great to read that market researchers expect the global telemedicine market to expand by 19 percent by 2014. According to a forecast by market analysts at Technavio, United States federal grants supporting telehealth contribute significantly to the forecasted industry growth. An increase in strategic partnerships in telemedicine also helps boost telehealth’s prominence.

As telemedicine continues to expand throughout the United States, Europe and developing nations also continue to offer more opportunities for remote care, according to the market report. It’s exciting to think of the international collaboration possibilities for telehealth as it spreads worldwide. Imagine a telepresence connection between an expert in France, a patient in rural New York, and the patient’s doctor in New York City. The top minds in different specialties could communicate effortlessly, sharing cutting-edge findings and offering the best care available.

We’re already seeing truly innovative international telepresence collaboration in telesurgery, a field the Technavio report predicted would continue to expand. In September, a Kenyan patient underwent the African nation’s first telesurgery procedure. Specialists in India guided the operation via telepresence.

Would you let robots perform your surgery if you knew the best hands in the field led the procedure in real-time through telepresence? It sounds impossible, but with telepresence widely available, it could be the wave of the future!

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