The best entry to telemedicine is to choose a chronic disease, such as sleep disorders, and set up a service platform and ecosystem that can be gradually expanded, according to Rex Cherng, co-founder and COO of US-based telehealth solution provider TelePlus Healthcare.
There are five elements for telemedicine: Analysis, diagnosis, therapy, monitoring and medical care, and they are crucial to running sustainable business models, Cherng said.
To establish a complete and extensible telemedicine platform and ecosystem, it is necessary to make a distinction between telemedicine and telehealth as well as between the concepts of patient-centered and patient-centric, Cherng pointed out.
Telemedicine refers to therapy using various methods of remote treatment including tele-care, tele-surgery, tele-education, tele-consultation, tele-monitoring and tele-prescription, whereas telehealth means long-term use of tele-medical methods to keep improving health, and this is necessary for chronic diseases, Cherng explained.
"Patient-centered" means that the medical staff make therapeutic decisions, and patients, with their needs and preference being respected, are persuaded to accept the decisions, Cherng said. "Patient-centric" means personalized medicine where various monitoring methods are used to collect data from individual patients and the data are combined with corresponding medical records to customize therapeutic procedures and patient management platforms, Cherng noted, adding it is characterized by interaction between the patients and medical staff, with the latter keeping modifying therapeutic procedures based on monitoring results.
TelePlus has developed a 5-step personalized precision sleep and chronic disease platform, a sleep medical solution based on the concepts of telehealth and patient-centric, Cherng indicated. The platform is actually an online virtual sleep medical center that is available for free use by hospitals and clinics, letting them do without setting up their own, Cherng said.