Digital Evolution: from telemedicine to virtual care

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Jon Pearce, MedCity News

I am a big fan of 80’s movies – Fast Times at Ridgemont HighSixteen CandlesNational Lampoon’s Vacation, and of course, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off. One of the things that fascinate me about these movies is how anachronistic the technology is. Even in science fiction movies like Tron or Weird Science, the technology looks stodgy and clunky compared to what we’ve grown used to. The 80s really were a simpler era – one where the latest mobile phones were hard-wired into cars, electric typewriters were more than a hipster affectation, floppy discs were actually floppy—and had top-of-the-line data storage, and where telemedicine wasn’t even a glimmer in the public’s eye.

The Evolution of Digital Healthcare
Looking back at that time, it’s clear to see the evolutionary path technology has taken. Those car phones became truly mobile, and then evolved into the powerful super-computers we carry around in our pockets today. Typewriters were supplanted by word processors (those were computers that only created documents, for anyone too young to remember), and Apple’s Lisa transformed first to increasingly sleek desktop computers, then eventually to our current ultra-portable laptops and tablets. Floppy disks gained an exoskeleton, then data storage shifted to CDs; now we rely on massive servers holding exabytes (that’s one billion gigabytes) of data, commonly called “the cloud.” And telemedicine, fueled by the shifts outlined above, has moved out of the hands of organizations like NASA and the CDC to become a care delivery channel in its own right. full article

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