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Telemedicine is a Democratic Technology :: Jay Culver, Global Sales Director, Global Media

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GlobalMed is the premiere telemedicine design and manufacturing company, manufacturing and selling visual assessment telemedicine solutions that provide superior image quality,  unmatched versatility and unsurpassed simplicity. With passion to improve the delivery of global healthcare through innovative  technologies, Jay Culver, Global Sales Director, Global Media, elaborates on the pillars of success of the tele-medicine in USA and his outlook towards Indian healthcare markets

www.globalmed.com

Tell us your views on the Indian telemedicine market and how do you see it changing in the near future?

In USA, the challenge is that the insurance companies have included most of the healthcare services in their coverage and most of the patients rely on them for payments, in India the current GDP spend on healthcare is low, although there is a commitment from the government on investing more to make healthcare affordable and at the same time reach out to more  people. Hence, we observe that the future technologies that will play a key role in the Indian healthcare market will have tele-medicine as an effective component. Of our innovations   has been, to take the medicine and extend its reach beyond the last mile has become possible in the USA, in addition with the IT infrastructure and high quality streaming in video-conferencing to support the consultation – we are optimist that we can come up with creative solutions that can meet the diverse needs of practioners of tele-medicine in India. Flexibility is a key component in our product designs as we know one size cannot fit all in tele-medicine, and to extend our reach in India, we are open to learning the needs and challenges to customise our products and make appropriate and user-friendly for the Indian tele-medicine market. In the process, we had been associated with Presto Infosolutions Pvt. Ltd., a “Value Added Distributor”, is committed to provide Quality Services. With a clear vision and focus on emerging technologies they represent us exclusively here in Indian and SAARC region as a value added distributors to GlobalMed.

What are the main changes that have been done so far in the tele-medicine technology?

Our technologies enable leading pathologists, dermatologists, pediatricians, neurologists, surgeons and other caregivers to be more effective in providing patient care and more productive and efficient in managing patient information. Our innovations and patented technology provide medical professionals with unmatched capabilities in delivery of quality of  care. The major changes is the transportable examination station, usually for remote areas we can have more consultations, besides  this we have also done extensive work on power supply, battery life that play crucial role when operating in these remote areas. We are also working on the various modalities of telemedicine as a practice; in some villages they are so remote that unless you have a Satcom one cannot transmit images, so we are working on the connectivity and quality of images. Also, we have worked on software aspects that allow the practioners to store images on offline as proprietary information as a confidential and secure file storage system, the same set of images can then be whenever connectivity is available.

What were the key drivers of bringing tele-medicine solutions in mainstream healthcare services?

It was a national scale project and was supported with federal funding. It took time for the project to get started in US, and started with two cameras, and then it was followed with many scaling-up action. The approach was to identify the problem point or the challenges and explore solutions around them. We did multiple-customer preference tests, and as it  was a national roll-out so it was federally funded with a mandate to service a certain ratio of population. There were more than every  3000 veterans, and each would have a clinic, and their aim was to improve the reach of healthcare. In addition, they were to ensure not only tele-medicine service provider satisfaction but also patient satisfaction and ensure that they received the  same level of care as in a one-to-one interaction. Today, using metrics, we are seeing more veterans are using the technology platform and taking advantages of the features and benefits of it. There were clinical champions of tele-medicine who would  then convince other to follow and practice tele-medicine, and we had administrative champions who looked at just at logistics of set-up and running a tele-medicine centre. Training and education of the stakeholders was an integrated component,  and it is the heart of the project.

Training and Education has been key to success, tell us your views on the same?

We have a Tele-medicine University that is our training facility where one in tele-medicine can come learn and best practices and train on our technology and platforms. It helps them equip themselves to make the optimum use of all the tele-medicine facility, to optimize the equipments. The technology is there, but the real benefits come only when we  integrate the technology in healthcare practice, and this integration has to be not only from the hardware and software but also from the operational  level. The human element and operational processes are critical for the success of any tele- edicine project as is technology, and the same will be important for its success in India.   Our representative, Presto being ssociated with other related OEMs from this field such as Video Conferencing, Wireless  Microphone, Wireless, Secure Data Center etc. & deals with supply, training & support; is going to be very useful.

Tell us your future outlook for the Indian tele-medicine market?

We are here to share our experiences, successes, challenges and to learn and adapt to the Indian market. No one has yet launched a large scale tele-medicine in India, although there have been pilots that have taken place and shown positive results for the deployment of tele-medicine technology for healthcare in India. Tele-medicine is a democratic technology  and is actually a bridge to healthcare divide anywhere in the world including India.

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