Lucintel, a global management consulting and market research firm, recently reported that the home health device market will experience an explosion in the next few years, growing to an estimated $29 billion by 2017.This is not surprising, given the substantial benefits for patients, their care teams, medical centers and clinics, and health insurance companies associated with better and more affordable technologies that provide better care, at a lower cost, with validation of outcomes.
But the creation of new and affordable in-home “gadgets” that patients and homecare providers can use to actively (or even passively) to manage health is only one part of the success equation. Software and real time communications capabilities are now “humanizing” the process, and with technologies like WebRTC which can turn browsers into face-to-face communications with a single touch, the opportunity to vastly improve healthcare delivery is within reach.
“Home healthcare and self-management devices and services span a broad spectrum,” another study, published by Rand, added. “Depending on the interpretation of the terminology, they can include everything from mobility support tools to basic diagnostic and therapeutic tools… to telemedicine solutions and care delivered by home health care professionals.”
The need is there, the technology is ready, and the business models (for example reimbursement and pay-for-performance) are lining up. With the aging population, one of the fastest growing professions in the US is home healthcare aides, and they also are being enabled with mobile technologies – including those which leverage the cloud – software as a service, and platform as a service. This is where APIs are starting to make a huge impact.
APIs enable one software system to talk to another, most commonly over the Web. They facilitate moving information between software programs. APIs do this by exposing some of a program’s internal functions, enabling applications to share data.
According to Modern Healthcare staff writer, Joseph Conn “Advocates foresee APIs becoming ubiquitous in health IT, opening up data in older proprietary EHRs for health information exchange and analysis via Web-based tools, particularly applications running on mobile devices such as smartphones and tablet computers.” (link: http://www.modernhealthcare.com/article/20140520/NEWS/305209945)
Conn was reporting on a group of scientists called JASON, who recommended in a report to the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality that “APIs be mandated for use in the federal EHR incentive-payment program.” The group said APIs will help create “a migration pathway from legacy EHR systems” to the interoperable healthcare communications network of the future.
This evening, in San Francisco, my company GENBAND is launching, formally, Kandy, a platform-as-a-service which makes real time communications services available through APIs for applications across many industries, including healthcare, and will be hosting the demonstration of a new real time healthcare communications network from VIZI Health.
Based on Kandy’s APIs, and a related mobile SDK, VIZI Health is integrating real time communications using WebRTC voice, data and video channels, to connect patients at home with their care team. VIZI Health was able to develop their beta solution within months, not years, and with less cost and risk because they are leveraging existing code and a per-subscriber business model to make what could have taken years to create available today.
By embedding RTC into workflow and applications, the experience of professionals and end users is enhanced, including collaborative care that can also pull in specialists, pharmacists, family members, and insurers. Another application we’ve been fortunate to help develop for a medical center specializing in cancer care:
You can learn more about Kandy later today when, at 6 PM Pacific, the new kandy.io is live…sign up!