For the house call of tomorrow, your mobile phone

By Brian Dolan

"It's the first time a private payer has really come out in a big way and endorsed telemedicine," Jonathan Linkous, CEO of the American Telemedicine Association, told the Washington Times in reference to United Health Group's recent deal with Cisco. "The insurers are starting to say yes. Telemedicine doesn't have to be high tech. There is a huge benefit in terms of keeping people out of hospitals."

Linkous' interview was just a part of a four-page feature on the state of the telemedicine industry that the Washington Times published over the weekend. Of course, some wireless health snuck in:

"The breakthrough is your mobile phone, the house call of tomorrow," predicted Dr. Jay Sanders, president emeritus of the ATA and professor of medicine at Johns Hopkins University.

"Telemedicine is a pretty fast-paced industry," said David Balch, a technology consultant and former board member of the ATA. "What is interesting is what is coming — devices such as wearables, whereby patients with identified chronic illnesses will wear monitors and be remotely tracked and where you can set parameters so doctors are paged when necessary. Clearly, technology is ahead of the practice of medicine."

For an interesting redux of telemedicine history and a worthwhile update on the state of the industry, check out this feature from the Washington Times