The fields of medical technology, mobile health, digital health, telehealth and telemedicine are all interconnected; growing and developing together at a fast pace. Getting a precise definition for any one field can be tricky. The terms ‘telehealth’ and ‘telemedicine’ are often used interchangeably, but they actually cover slightly different services. Telehealth is the provision of health advice, and education using telecommunication technology. Telemedicine is a subset of telehealth, providing relevant and personalised clinical advice to achieve remote diagnosis and treatment of patients.
Telemedicine is a relatively new field, first developed about 50 years ago to provide services to patients located far from healthcare facilities or in areas experiencing shortages of healthcare professionals.
Now it is becoming an increasingly convenient and efficient way to access medical or veterinary services though smart devices from any location (with internet connectivity), including the comfort of your own home.
The Rise of Telemedicine
Our lifestyles are becoming more and more fast-paced and reliant on technology. Connected smart devices have made our lives easier by allowing for the collection and integration of all the information we need and providing us with easy access to it. The advancements in technology and mobile apps allowing us to track various aspects of our health now allows healthcare to be increasingly personalised, preventative, predictive and participatory.
The human telemedicine industry has grown rapidly over the last few years, with services such as GP at Hand provided by Babylon Health, and Push Doctor becoming prominent within the healthcare field. These services provide increased accessibility to medical professionals, and also improve the efficiency of care; with doctors using AI and other technologies to make quicker and more accurate diagnoses.
Veterinary healthcare can also utilise the advantages of telemedicine in a variety of ways. We can track your pet’s daily activity, their calorie expenditure, their eating and drinking habits and ultimately, their health, from the comfort of your own home. This technology aims to close the bridge between vets and pet owners, by giving vets accurate and objective information on your pet, and giving owners the reassurance they need. In all ways, this technology aims to make life simpler for vets, owners and pets. Pet activity monitors such as the Felcana Go and accompanying app will be able to provide readily-available information to your vet, allowing them to give you real evidence-based advice.
Elderly or disabled pet owners, or those in rural areas who do not have quick and easy access to their vets will greatly benefit from a service like this as it provides increased accessibility. It’s also great for pets who suffer from stress, fear or motion sickness when travelling, therefore improving animal welfare. Currently about one in three cat owners miss vet visits due to 'feline resistance', and this service can ensure these pets don't miss out on their health checks.
The pet telemedicine field is still in its infancy but is growing quickly, and Felcana intends to be at the forefront. Our products such as the Felcana Go provides a convenient way to keep track of your pet’s health, and we are currently developing the capability to chat to a vet within minutes through our platform- watch this space!
For more information on the advantages of using activity monitors to track your pet’s health, check out our blog post on the influence of Felcana on the veterinary industry.
This blog post was written by Ilakiya Guruswamy and Melody Winterhalter from The Royal Veterinary College.