Publication Name: Dataquest
Date: July 2015
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In spite of the fact that telemedicine has been talked about for a long, the market has not grown much. According to you, what are the reasons for this and how IoT can help in solving this problem.
Telemedicine offers a promise of delivering health services 24/7 and is also expected to reduce casualties due to lack of medical attention. The dawn of connected devices and M2M is offering an incredible opportunity for healthcare professionals. Universal mobile networks are allowing doctors to diagnose, monitor, and communicate with patients with unprecedented speed and efficacy. Telemedicine also aides in reduced cost of operation as it needs lesser employees and can allow to do away with various logistical utilities.
For telemedicine to flourish in any market, the following factors are of utmost importance –
- High speed broadband or data connection
- Increased usage of smartphones in both rural and urban markets
- Individuals to be educated enough to follow instructions online and make necessary amendments
- Government funds for the implementation of telemedicine
Real time monitoring of a patients various biological parameters are gaining ground with the advancement of telemedicine and health. IoT is set to play a dominant role in establishing connections between tracking and the analytics device with the help of various sensors establishing seamless patient monitoring system. Various physiological parameters like blood sugar level or blood pressure level, even such parameters can be customized based on the health condition of the individual. IoT is believed to hold huge potential in fostering the growth of telemedicine across the globe. Telemedicine will help deliver seamless diagnosis at the convenience of the patients comfortable location.
What are the challenges with respect to the Indian market and how do you see the role of IoT in solving these issues?
The increasing use of smartphones will play a pivotal role in transforming healthcare, with analysts predicting the global mobile health market to grow at an impressive compound annual growth rate of 33.5% in the next five years. Such an impressive growth is primarily augmented by the continued growth of mobile networks coupled with increasing affordability of smartphones and growing awareness about telemedicine amongst users. Though the telehealth market holds significant growth potential in the Indian market, there are certain challenges that needs to be addressed –
- Though India is the second largest smart phone market in the world, high speed data connectivity is still an issue averting the availability of various other services to be operated from the mobile device.
- Bandwidth constriction is another challenge accounted hindering the development of telemedicine in India.
- Integration of various hospitals to form a larger chain of network delivering seamless patient services is also yet to take off in India. Specialty hospitals are expected to join hands to deliver faster, better, and form a collaborative ecosystem fostering the growth of telehealth in India
- In order to expand the network of telehealth to rural markets, the basic education about the usage of Internet and smartphone device needs to be present. Government agencies might tie up with various non-profit organizations for hosting campaigns on rural smartphone skill development.
What is your business strategy to grow in this space?
We believe that IoT drives fundamental changes in the way products are conceptualized by manufacturers and utilized by customers. In the new paradigm, products serve as an extended platform to provide services to customers. The approach we have is a platform centric approach, which we take to our customers in various vertical market segments. The approach is three-tiered wherein the basic layer consists of all the infrastructure components that constitute a wide variety of IoT applications including multiprotocol sensor aggregation. The second layer is a domain centric layer, which has components that we proactively identify through extensive research and innovation. The third layer is where we encourage customers to develop the aspects that will uniquely help them differentiate in the markets they operate in. In addition to the broader theme of smart cities, telehealth, fleet management, and connected car are some of the important verticals that we are focused on right now.
What kind of opportunities does Tata Elxsi see in the Indian market with respect to IoT?
Tata Elxsi foresees an extremely bright future on telehealth and is in the process of developing various solutions, more specific to connected care ecosystem. Tata Elxsi has been working on telemedicine since last decade, during which the adoption spiked. Some of the areas of excellence are – Video conferencing, connectivity protocols for device data transmission, remote monitoring of vital signs.
TATA Elxsi provides either support or the complete telemedicine solution for physician’s outreach to remote facilities and clinics, wherein physicians can directly access the patient’s data without travelling to the patient location. The doctors can diagnose, monitor, as well as prescribe the medical care baring the distance issue.
We hope to leverage its connectivity expertise by integrating various modules of connected care ecosystem such that data from the device as well as patient data can be pulled over from local aggregator as well as EMR on cloud. The company also encourages the implementation of various interoperability standards and methods like HL7 and IHE to make the data accessible amongst various enterprise solutions without compromising the integrity.