The global telemedicine market, driven by a focus on health IT and mobile healthcare, is expected to double over the next five years according to a new industry research report.  Advances in mobile connectivity are a significant factor in the growing adoption of telemedicine worldwide. Mobile devices can be used for remote monitoring, medicine compliance, as well as a tool for connecting patients to their doctors.

Telemedicine is defined as the use of telecommunication technology in providing medical services to patients, especially in remote areas. It is particularly helpful for patients who previously had to travel extensively to receive medical care, even for non-urgent health issues. Today, doctors can monitor patients with the help of telehealth devices that provide real-time updates of all the patients’ health information and which can even communicate necessary advice to patients. This is critically important given the shortage of a. ontro more than 130,000 physicians that the U.S. expects to face by 2025.

Laboratories also are learning how to taking advantage of these advancements to serve their patients in variety of new ways, according to an article in Advance for Administrators of the Laboratory. “Regardless of the geographical location, patients can receive accurate access to clinical laboratory assessment, diagnosis, intervention and teaching in a more expedient manner than ever before,” the article stated. “One example of telelab innovation is that laboratories can perform remote interpretations of pre-transfusion blood tests. Such advances allow greater patient access to care through improved healthcare delivery.”

Advances in telemedicine have the power to transform how we, as a society, approach healthcare. It eliminates traditional barriers of time and distance to provide quality patient care to all.

Maryland is already a leader in the area of health care. Growing the lab workforce is another opportunity to demonstrate that leadership. We can do that through establishing mentoring relationships, funding scholarships and by engaging each other and soliciting ideas.

Most importantly, we can do that by simply spreading the word that laboratory careers are lucrative, stimulating, and they make a positive difference in the lives of others.