Dr. Toby Cosgrove: 2019 will be the year of telehealth

Jessica Kim Cohen - Print  | 

Toby Cosgrove, MD, former CEO of Cleveland Clinic, told CNBC he foresees 2019 as the year telehealth becomes ubiquitous.

Although telehealth has already permeated the healthcare space, many patients don't know it exists, Dr. Cosgrove said. However, as awareness grows, patients are increasingly becoming interested in using video conferencing with their physician as a way to save a trip to a hospital. Telehealth also helps patients with chronic conditions, who may need regular monitoring.

"[Oakland, Calif.-based Kaiser Permanente] is seeing over 50 percent of their patients distantly," Dr. Cosgrove told CNBC.

Dr. Cosgrove, who now serves as an executive advisor to Google Cloud's healthcare and life sciences team, also said the cloud will serve as a way to make the tremendous amount of data available in healthcare actionable.

"There's an enormous amount of data and it's a problem for us to keep track of and that's why I think the cloud is going to come in," he said, noting data can be stored and analyzed in the cloud. "So now you can have huge data sets that you can begin to analyze, and now that's where [artificial intelligence] and machine learning comes in."

Earlier this year, Google along with Amazon, IBM, Microsoft, Oracle and Salesforce announced a joint commitment to removing barriers to interoperability in healthcare. The goal of the program is to deliver better patient care, higher user satisfaction and lower costs across the industry by improving health information exchange.

"As the data goes to the cloud all the major cloud providers have come to an agreement that they will share unidentified information," Dr. Cosgrove added.

More articles on telehealth:
Telehealth: Law firm outlines 3 drivers, 2 barriers going into 2019
A new use for telehealth tech: Bringing Santa Claus to pediatric patients
Microsoft's president hints at telemedicine in program tackling 'broadband gap'

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