Telemedicine: HME market opportunity?
ATLANTA - The field of telemedicine has evolved, but HME's role in the landscape is still being defined.
Jonathan Linkous, executive director of the American Telemedicine Association, said at Medtrade in October that a business model involving HME providers "isn't clear yet" as the emerging category becomes more prominent, but that with some study, entrepreneurs should be able to figure out the industry's place in the system. Most likely, the HME provider should see opportunity in becoming a sales agent for a host of new telemedicine devices, he said.
"Their best position is probably as sellers to home health agencies, discharge planners, case managers, assisted living facilities and nursing homes," Linkous said. "It could turn out to be a huge market for them."
At this point, telemedicine is "ready for the mainstream" with innovative new products designed specifically for use in the home as a cost-effective alternative to acute care. Some devices have been long established, such as personal emergency response systems and cardiac monitors, while others such as "telerespirometry" units, vital sign monitor and interactive video conferencing are in early stages of adoption.
Advancements in cell phone technology also have potential applications, as interactive video, wireless connectivity and conferencing functionality become more sophisticated, Linkous said.