Home is Where the Health Is: Telehealth Services Provide Support for Independent Living
In December of 2013, Forbes reported on recent predictions from IHS that the U.S. telehealth market would grow to $1.9 billion in 2018 from $240 million in 2013, a growth rate of 56 percent. Spurred by insufficient staffing levels and changes in healthcare regulation, as well as the need for improved options for patients, many companies have jumped into the telehealth industry. Home health technology has the potential to help patients become more independent and to aid healthcare professionals that need reliable computing solutions to do their jobs. With the number of patients using telehealth services expected to rise to seven million in 2018, the healthcare industry has only begun to see the large shift to mobile technologies that will become more prevalent over the years.
Telehealth services can help bridge potential communication gaps between assisted living facility residents and their families, friends and care providers. Ease of use is imperative for these technology tools. Products delivered through consumer tablets and that can connect easily through Wi-Fi are most flexible, giving residents options to manage daily activities with calendar appointments and reminders, view photos and videos, and participate in video chats and messaging. Recognizing a growing demand for mobile solutions in the healthcare field, the new Health and Wellness Solutions business group at Panasonic recently announced that it has launched a service called On4TodayTM. As new technologies continue to provide more options to individuals and healthcare facilities, it is becoming easier than ever for patients to stay connected from the comfort of their own home.