The future and present of telemedicine

According to the definition of the World Health Organization, “Telemedicine is a comprehensive concept for systems, services and activities in the field of health care that can be remotely transmitted by means of information and telecommunication technologies, in order to develop global health care, control the spread of diseases, as well as education, management and research in medecine".

With the development of the sphere of information and telecommunication technologies, medicine is also changing. The advent of gadgets, the availability of cellular communications and the Internet, including mobile 3G and 4G, is changing the face of medicine. If twenty years ago it was mainly about telephone consultations, then over time even such free software as Skype allowed the patient to talk face-to-face with a doctor even from a pharmacy (there was a project in Europe several years ago where pharmacies were equipped with consultation booths with doctors).

Moreover, the appearance of telemedicine is changing and wearable gadgets. The heart rate monitor, which first appeared in the 1970s, has now become an integral part of many smart watches. This is another source for collecting information that is useful to doctors for making a diagnosis and developing recommendations.

Telemedicine as one of the leading trends in recent years should attract a lot of attention from investors. Under the cut, I will try to talk about how telemedicine is changing now and due to what factors it happens.

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Wearable devices for collecting information


What are wearable gadgets capable of now? They collect information about movements, count the number of steps and measure the pulse. With the development of the industry, these data will become increasingly accurate - as you know, until the heart rate monitors differ in surgical accuracy in their measurements.

The first ECG heart rate monitor, Polar, 1977. It uses optical pulse measurement technology, popular in modern devices.


The world's first Polar Sport Tester PE 2000 sports smartwatch with a heart rate monitor and alarm clock.



Modern smart watches.



Integration with modern gadgets, such as fitness trackers and just smartphones with sports apps and food diaries installed, will allow doctors to get the maximum amount of patient information.

So, it is likely to create software that collects data on patient behavior, activity and nutrition from all given applications at one time, after which it flips this information with photos of food from instagram and sends it to the clinic where the patient undergoes treatment and consultations.

Telemedicine complexes as part of a smart home


As an example of a home information collection complex, such as changes in body weight, blood sugar measurements, as well as a blood pressure monitor and urinalysis, the Washlet toilet room, jointly developed by Toto and Daiwa House, can be mentioned. Such a room from Japanese manufacturers costs at least $ 6100, then the price rises depending on the necessary additions.



Remote surgery


Probably everyone knows about the robot surgeon Da Vinci. If not, then in more detail: this is a robot consisting of two blocks, with the help of which a surgeon sitting at the console, seeing a plot in 3D format with multiple magnification and working with joysticks controls a four-armed robot located at any distance from it.

Da Vinci is installed in hundreds of clinics around the world, and twenty devices are located in Russia.

This part works directly with the patient.



What operations are performed using Da Vinci
• Restoration of the mitral valve
• Myocardial revascularization
• Ablation of heart tissue
• Installation of epicardial pacemaker for biventricular resynchronization
• Gastric bypass
• fundoplication Nissen
• Hysterectomy and Myomectomy
• Operations on the spine, the replacement discs
• Thymectomy - surgery to remove the thymus gland
• Lobectomy of lung
• Ezofagoektomiya
• mediastinal tumor resection
• Radical prostatectomy
• pyeloplasty
• Removal of the bladder
• Radical nefrekto tions and partial nephrectomy
• ureteral reimplantation
• Gidrokonkatenatsiya brain tissue
• Thyroidectomy
• Tonsillectomy


The direction of telesurgery itself appeared in the 1980s, and already in 1985 the first successful operation was carried out using a robot on the brain.

Robotic surgery has many advantages, including eliminating the risk of infection for the surgeon - and this allows you to work anywhere, including quarantined areas, reducing the risk of wound infection and minimal pain after surgery.



An excellent example of the use of telemedicine is in the episode "House of Frozen" (Frozen). There House with the hands of one of the participants in the expedition treats a female doctor, forcing the guy to drill her head. The episode seems to be similar to telesurgery, but not with the help of a robot, but with the help of a living person.



Big data in telemedicine


The data taken from the bracelets Jawbone UP and Jawbone UP24 once determined the epicenter of the earthquake. It's simple: the closer to the epicenter, the earlier people woke up in the middle of the night. And the farther from it, the less people in principle reacted to tremors.



Having at its disposal data from many wearable gadgets, it is already possible to determine how people sleep, how their sleep depends on the presence of the metro in the city, and on the need to travel long distances to work. And how many people sleep on weekends. Such studies have already been conducted .

But what if you use all these data for medicine? Understand how blood pressure is affected by proximity to an asphalt plant or ponds?



Do not forget: this is not only about bracelets, but also about other devices, including smartphones and tablets, as well as, possibly, surveillance cameras installed on the streets and in the premises, to determine the mood of people.

The face recognition system, I think, will provide information on where people have and under what circumstances their mood improves. For example, you can find out what kind of music that sounds on the metro escalator will work better for people rushing to work in the morning.

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