Better, faster, cheaper.
That’s the mantra being chanted quietly from the C-Suite and the halls of government in response to today’s healthcare crisis. We want better outcomes, shorter wait times and lower insurance premiums.
Healthcare providers in the trenches are caught in the middle, squeezed from all directions. One proposed solution? Become more “meaningful users” of healthcare technology. But for many, this rings hollow. After all, who can worry about hot new apps and gadgets – let alone a cumbersome new EMR – when there’s a line of sick folks weaving out the door?
On one hand, they are correct in that the patients will always matter most. No one knows that more than the docs on the ground. On the other hand, any physician who bucks against digital healthcare innovation has missed an important fact: The only way for healthcare to ever become faster and cheaper (occasionally even better) is through remote, digitized patient encounters – i.e. telemedicine.
It is into this world – this tension – that we introduce the premier issue of Telemedicine Magazine. Telemedicine will chart healthcare’s digital future in a way that links practicing clinicians – the backbone of our healthcare system – with the tech innovators who are turning that system on its head. We’ll publish three issues in 2015; pick yours up at www.telemedmag.com.
In his essay on page 32, Editorial Director Bill Gordon describes 2015 as telemedicine’s tipping point. The technology has arrived, the evidence base is growing and legislation supporting its practice is (slowly) working its way through the pipeline (read Rock Health’s legislative run-down on page 47). Not to mention that investors are dropping millions to get a piece of the pie (Scott Kozicki covers investment trends on page 43). According to Ron Gutman, the CEO of HealthTap, there’s even been tidal shift in Silicon Valley. Now instead of flocking to gaming and social media, the best tech talent in the industry are turning to medical tech start-ups (read the full interview on page 28).
But telemedicine is about a lot more than who acquired whom or what new app came out of The Valley. Telemedicine is about the actual delivery of healthcare, from a doctor to a patient. That’s why, in the end, Telemedicine Magazine is as much about people – innovators and practitioners – as it is about technology and gadgets. It’s about stories of progress, and how we can all play a part. That’s one reason we’ve chosen to publish this magazine in print in an age when so many are flocking to digitally incessant blogs and news feeds. We hope the tactile experience of holding these stories in your hands will help you take the time to slow down and ask big questions. What do you want the future of healthcare delivery to look like? How can the right technology be applied at the right time, in the right way . . . by the right people?
Perhaps you’ll find answers to these questions on the pages ahead. Or perhaps the people and ideas you encounter here will spark your own fresh contribution. Either way, I hope to hear from you. If you have comments or queries – or would like to pitch a story – email me at email@example.com.
Logan Plaster // Editor-in-Chief