Since the first television sets were commercialised in the early 20th century, these devices have become ubiquitous in homes around the world. Even if they have evolved since then with fancy screens and even adopting the ‘smart’ moniker, most of us are still accustomed to TVs. It might very well be the most familiar electronic device across generations.
Bearing this in mind, while you might zap from one channel to the next in search of your Game of Thrones-shaped needs, what if you could zap to your physician by the same token? You might think that we already have computers, phones and tablets for that; but TVs as a remote care platform are being contemplated by big players in the market. Moreover, its accessibility might cater to the needs of some demographics that would otherwise be left out in the digital health revolution.
Let’s tune in to see how one of the modern home’s staple devices posits as a remote care platform for the masses.
Zapping to your doctor with a remote control
The concept of turning one’s TV into a remote care hub isn’t new. Back in 2012, researchers designed a remote health assistance system for the elderly to use through a TV set. Vivify Health, a remote patient monitoring solution provider, even patented a system in 2016 to monitor and engage patients through their existing TV sets. The Qortex kit from MedSign was launched in 2020 to enable two-way virtual communication between doctors and patients.
But we are exploring this idea now as a major tech company has recently pushed for telehealth through TVs. In early 2022, electronics giant LG announced that its 2021 and 2022 line of smart TVs will be equipped with the remote health platform Independa. Through their TVs, users, in particular senior citizens, will be able to consult a physician via a telemedical appointment.
With 50% of TVs sold in the first quarter of 2021 being either LG- or Samsung- branded, such a service can have quite a significant reach. Even if it’s localised to the U.S., the approach could be adopted by other telehealth providers in other countries. There is a market for telehealth through TVs as, even if the pandemic bolstered telemedicine’s adoption, this rise might not have factored in some specific demographics.
In particular, the screen real estate that TVs provide can be more helpful for patients with eyesight issues. A fixed, TV-sized screen also helps minimise the downsides of virtual visits for doctors as they can ask patients to stand, move around and show more of their body. “You can’t hold your phone out far enough to show the right thing,” says Kian Saneii, Independa’s founder and CEO. “Versus on the TV, you can walk around, you can bend your arm — the actual engagement becomes more effective.”
More than telemedicine-on-a-TV
What makes the LG-Independa solution interesting is that it goes beyond offering just a telemedicine consultation. The Independa Health Hub on the LG smart TVs will also enable users to message and video call their close ones as a means to keep in touch even in cases of quarantine. Caregivers can also be notified if patients have not been actively using the app.
If remote care platforms are to operate through TVs, they will need to be compelling enough to be adopted. Having the ability to pair up with caregivers makes it an appropriate option for providing care for the elderly. Given that those over 65 prefer TV sets over other media devices, this represents an opportunity to expand remote care to this demographic. Being operated on the familiar TV, such services can make seniors more comfortable to employ telemedicine.
To further boost adoption, whether it’s for the elderly or the public at large, other enticing features could be integrated. Through Independa, LG TV users will have access to the Capital Rx pharmacy benefit plan for discounts on prescriptions. This could be expanded in the future to include placing prescription orders from the TV itself. Other useful features could enable users to upload their wearable and health sensor data to the remote care service and share them to their physicians for in-depth medical insights.
An effective remote care TV platform adoption
While expanding remote care through TVs holds promise, such options have to be effective. A common challenge for direct-to-consumer telehealth is that the patient data collected don’t always integrate in electronic health records. This should be addressed in order to ensure proper follow-up of patients.
Another barrier is that not every household is equipped with a smart TV. On top of that, patients need to know if their smart TVs have a camera in the first place to be compatible with the telehealth service. To circumvent this issue, an approach similar to the Qortex system from MedSign can be adopted. While it requires an internet connection, it does not require a smart TV. Instead, the Qortex box is installed on TVs to provide access to the remote health service.
Concerns might also arise regarding patient privacy, as such a service could double as a monitoring tool in disguise. Will patients know when their smart TV’s camera is activated? Will they have control over it? These questions come in addition to the need to secure patient data over the platform. For its part, Independa highlights that its service is not destined to be a monitoring system.
They give users control over disabling or declining notifications; while the camera is activated only when a call is accepted or made. “It’s always with dignity and respect,” says the company’s CEO.
Such opt-in and accessible options can be more welcome by users and help build trust for wider adoption. But a large-scale expansion of remote care through TVs has yet to happen. LG and other healthcare providers might still be testing the waters in this regard. But with its reach and familiarity, the iconic TV indeed holds the potential to bring remote health to the masses.
Written by Dr. Bertalan Meskó & Dr. Pranavsingh Dhunnoo
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The post Will Your Smart TV Serve As A Remote Care Platform? appeared first on The Medical Futurist.
By: Pranavsingh Dhunnoo
Title: Will Your Smart TV Serve As A Remote Care Platform?
Sourced From: medicalfuturist.com/remote-care-through-smart-television
Published Date: Tue, 01 Feb 2022 07:00:00 +0000
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