In the latest episode of Impetus Digital‘s Fireside Chat, I sat down with Robert Kaul, Founder, CEO & President of Cloud DX, and explored connected health, remote patient monitoring, telemedicine, and more. Robert also shared his tips for new entrepreneurs based on his 17 years of experience founding and working at six different startups.
Here is a preview of our discussion:
Q: Telemedicine has existed for many, many years, basically ignored by many, and now, it has become a requirement. Now, people are trying to revert back to what’s normal. Where does Cloud DX fit into that evolution? And where is it heading considering there are still some questions about remote monitoring in general and telemedicine?
A: Here’s a funny story about telehealth and telemedicine. You can Google this. This is something I just read on a history blog somewhere. Right after Alexander Graham Bell invented the telephone, he had a hard time getting people to actually use the telephone because both parties had to have a telephone. And so, at the very beginning of the telephone era, not that many people had a phone, there was no one to call. It turned out that one of the very first people who actually used the telephone was a doctor. One of the very first phone calls ever made was a telehealth call, because a mother who also happened to have a telephone called the doctor because she didn’t understand why her baby wouldn’t stop crying. The doctor immediately diagnosed croup. He said, “That baby has croup, I can tell just by listening to that baby cry. She has croup.” One of the very first uses of the telephone was telehealth; it was telemedicine, and now here we are!
The reality is that about 3% of healthcare encounters or healthcare consultations in 2019 took place through telehealth/telemedicine. A large percentage of that took place on TeleDoc, which was by far the largest of the companies providing telehealth at that time. Then of course, in March 2020, everything changed. No one could go to the doctor or the hospital anymore. And so overnight, healthcare consultations became remote. What’s interesting is that, first of all, there was a lot of skepticism, but it was an emergency, so you got to do what you got to do. People were doing telehealth consults on Zoom. They were doing them on FaceTime. You name it. None of it was necessarily privacy compliant. But all the rules were waived, and it was just the Wild West.
A funny thing happened, which is that people realized they really like it as much as face-to-face meetings and that they are great for business. No one gets excited about going to the doctor, and no one gets excited about going to the hospital. Being able to have a healthcare consult in the comfort of your home, on your device, it’s just better. It’s easier for everyone. Providers like it. Patients like it.
From a peak of 80% of healthcare consultations happening virtually, as the pandemic started to wane, it has come down now to between 30% and 40%. That’s still two orders of magnitude more than it was in 2019, because it works. But what doctors, of course, have realized is that a Zoom call is one thing. You can have a telemedicine consult like this, and you can have a conversation. But unless you have actual data, you can’t really practice medicine. At the end of the day, many Zoom calls end with, “Please, you have to go to the clinic. You have to go to urgent care. You have to go to the emergency room, because I need to know what your blood pressure is. I need to know what’s changed with you and I can’t tell that over Zoom.” But remote patient monitoring gives doctors that power.
So, by prescribing remote monitoring, and sending patients a kit in their home that’s vetted and approved and integrated into the workflow in the clinic, then physicians can now practice medicine properly even if the patient’s not in front of them. They got used to the idea of being able to have these consults and that’s not something that everyone is comfortable with. Now the idea of remote monitoring is bringing the power of data to healthcare, and that’s again changing everything…
For more of our discussion, you can watch the whole Fireside Chat with Robert Kaul, or listen to the podcast version, below.
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Impetus Digital is the spark behind sustained healthcare stakeholder communication, collaboration, education, and insight synthesis. Our best-in-class technology and professional services ensure that life science organizations around the world can easily and cost-effectively grow and prosper—from brand or idea discovery to development, commercialization, execution, and beyond—in collaboration with colleagues, customers, healthcare providers, payers, and patients.