Telemedicine refers to the process of providing remote medical services via real time communication between the health service provider and the customer. The process of telemedicine is conducted with the help of phone calls, through which patients seek advice from doctors for non-emergency medical problems which does not require a doctor to visit the patient. Though this process does not completely replace the need for a face to face meeting between the patient and the doctor, it complements the need in case of no-emergency. Telemedicine is cost effective since it obviates the need for a physical visit to avail medical treatment or advice. The process of telemedicine requires a web camera and a patient portal from where the doctors can get connected to a secured online medical database platform and collect the required information. This process ensures a safe, secured, lower waiting time to consult a physician and an accurate mode of storing necessary medical information. On the other hand, m-health or mobile health is defined as health and medical practices that are conducted and supported with the help of mobile phones, personal digital assistants, and patient monitoring devices. M-health services utilize voice and short messaging services and other complex functionalities such as GPRS, GPS, Bluetooth technology, and 3G and 4G mobile telecommunication services to manage patient care, enhance medical diagnosis, reduce shortages of medicines at medical stores and so on.
The telemedicine and m-health convergence market is expected to be driven by the increasing inroads of internet connectivity coupled with the rising need to curb diseases that are linked with poverty such as HIV/AIDS, malaria, and tuberculosis. Efficient functioning of electronic processes and improved communication technologies support the growth of the telemedicine and m-health convergence market. Telemedicine and m-health convergence are gaining popularity in managing patients suffering from hypertension since it prevents cardiovascular consequences more effectively. A specific application of telemedicine for hypertension management is blood pressure telemonitoring (BPT), which allows remote data transmission of BP and additional information on patients' health status from their living site or from a community setting to the doctor's office or the hospital.
Poor internet connectivity in remote areas of underdeveloped and less developed countries is expected to create mild restraints in the growth of the telemedicine and m-health convergence market. Lack of social awareness is also expected to create hindrances in the growth of the market.
The telemedicine and m-heath convergence market has been segmented based on applications and region. Based on applications, the market can be further segmented into health surveys and data collection, health promotion and managing emergencies, mobile patient records, health awareness raising, and health call centers among others.
Based on region, the telemedicine and m-health convergence market has been segmented into North America, Europe, Asia Pacific, Middle East & Africa, and Latin America. North America is expected to hold a significant portion of the global telemedicine and m-health convergence market owing to implementation of extensive telemedicine programs and services by U.S. health care administrators. Increasing usage of mobile phones and broadband internet service coupled with growing incidence of infectious and chronic diseases are expected to drive the growth of the telemedicine and m-health convergence market in Asia Pacific. Increasing awareness regarding the benefit of internet connectivity in the healthcare sector has made people in this region proactive regarding the usage of tele-health services.
The telemedicine and m-health convergence market is highly competitive with a large presence of local and regional vendors. Key players operating in the telemedicine and m-health convergence market are Wellpoint, Vodafone, Veteran's Administration (VA), Samsung, Honeywell, Cisco, Apple, Logitech, Philips, and AT&T among others.
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