2 Health Tech Trends We’re Watching At gTC Group: Telehealth & AI
June 19, 2020 at 4:00 AM
A COVID-19 screening tool, pictured here, is one example of telehealth.

At gTC, we strive to invest in businesses that not only profit their owners but also the world at large. We dedicate our time and resources to companies that provide tangible value, not just wealth, to society. As a result, we do our absolute best to stay ahead of the curve with emerging trends in various industries.

That’s why we’re excited about two emerging areas of health tech—telehealth and artificial intelligence (AI). Read on to learn more about these incredible technologies and why gTC directs our energies towards these kinds of meaningful, impactful breakthroughs.

What’s Telehealth?

Coined in the 1970s, telehealth is not synonymous with telemedicine, which comes as a surprise to many. Telemedicine is specific to remote clinical services, such as a doctor’s appointment conducted over video chat. Telehealth, on the other hand, includes non-clinical services, meaning provider training, administrative meetings, education content, and more.

The World Health Organization (WHO) writes, “Access, equity, quality, and cost-effectiveness are key issues facing healthcare in both developed and less economically developed countries. Modern information and communication technologies (ICTs), such as computers, the Internet, and cell phones, are revolutionizing how individuals communicate with each other, seek and exchange information, and enrich their lives. These technologies have great potential to help address contemporary global health problems.”

Telehealth During COVID-19

In the past, telehealth was a growing industry, especially useful to rural healthcare providers. In the present, as COVID-19 causes systemic upheaval in how many aspects of society traditionally work, telehealth is more important than ever. This is due to its ability to function remotely without sacrificing access to quality professionals.

According to HealthIT.gov, telehealth communication technologies include:

  • Video conferencing
  • The Internet
  • Store-and-forward imaging
  • Streaming media
  • Terrestrial and wireless communications

As COVID-19 propels the fledgling telehealth industry forward, gTC is excited to see how healthcare adapts to this newly embraced approach. The challenges will likely not lie with the innovators in the industry but the regulators of the industry. State governments will have to change licensing laws. Beyond governmental regulation, we have commercial regulation which includes the insurance companies hitherto reluctant to pay for telehealth services for fear of fraud. The governmental and commercial regulators need to address these problems so that more can benefit from a lower cost and more convenient delivery of healthcare can be delivered to more people across the county.

What’s Artificial Intelligence?

Artificial intelligence (or AI for short) is exactly what it sounds like: simulated thought in an advanced digital program. AI is in our cell phones, our voice-activated assistants, supply chains, web design, and more.

AI has been part of healthcare for some time, but the role it plays is poised to dramatically increase in the near future. According to modernhealthcare.com, AI in healthcare falls into three general categories:

  • Patient-oriented AI
  • Clinician-oriented AI
  • Administrative- and operational-oriented AI

The future of AI could include everything from automatically answering the phone to rapidly parsing medical records to designing therapeutic drugs and/or devices. AI will be transformational if the industry can move to greater use of regular visits to primary care physicians, longitudinal relationships with caregivers, patient-owned data, portable electronic health records and AI driven care plans.

AI During COVID-19

As telehealth grows in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, AI is positioned to be a useful part of the revolution. AI can improve the quality and speed of care, increase the ease of access to care, reduce overall cost of developing new treatments, and personalize medical treatment by rapidly parsing complex analytics.

Many people are seeking remote medical care due to social distancing. AI has the power to make that remote care more efficient, available, and effective than ever before.

To learn more about the kinds of businesses we invest in at gTC Group, explore our website or contact us directly with any questions you have.