Valley Cottage, NY — 09/17/2018 — Dermatology is the field of medicine concerned with the skin, hair, nails and their diseases. It is a speciality dealing with both the medical & surgical aspects. With the rapid progression of telecommunication technology in the late 20th and early 21st century, there was a convergence of the two in the form of the teledermatology market. The term 'teledermatology' was coined by dermatologists Perednia and Brown in 1995. It is a subset within dermatology where telecommunication equipment is used to transmit medical data through audio, video and data means. It typically consists of dermatology photos. The main objectives of the teledermatology market are long-distance knowledge exchange for doctors & researchers, getting a second opinion and even being able to serve patients suffering from chronic skin conditions in far-flung regions of the globe. Teledermatology can also save valuable time by enabling dermatologists to treat minor ailments online while leaving only serious medical conditions to be dealt with in person. There are two main concepts in teledermatology – Store and Forward (SAF) and real time teledermatology. The former is more commonly used whereas the latter is still a niche part of the teledermatology market at present.
Teledermatology Market Drivers
There are several factors responsible for the growth of the teledermatology market; a critical one being medical education. Several medical universities & colleges have begun to offer online courses, web applications or computer-based-training modules specifically for their students. There are also specialist courses which can be taken directly on the Internet, particularly in a field like dermatoscopy. Teledermatology can also be very useful for making medical information more easily available. For e.g. – A person afflicted by a certain skin condition could access information online, as could their relatives. They might also be able to join peer support groups with other people facing the same medical condition. Another driver for the teledermatology market is improving telecommunication infrastructure in emerging markets. The major investments being planned in 4G LTE networks in these countries will also help the dermatology market in no small part. This will enable a doctor sitting in the U.S or even in an urban part of the same country to treat patients in rural areas remotely. If the problem is a minor one, they might not have to schedule an appointment, saving both their time as well as that of the dermatologist. One more key driver for the teledermatology market is the desire of insurance companies to cut cost. With the introduction of newer, more expensive medical therapies, teledermatology is one of the best ways to get effective, rapid & affordable treatment.
Teledermatology Market Restraints
One of the biggest drivers of the growth of the teledermatology market can also be a major restraint to its growth. While developing countries have committed investing billions of dollars in improving their mobile and wired broadband infrastructure, the reality on the ground is quite different. Mobile networks can be patchy, slow and unreliable even in cities, making it very difficult for dermatologists to get data heavy, large images from their patients in rural, far-flung areas. Another challenge is the resistance to change from both dermatologists and the patients. Dermatologists might not trust technology and prefer to diagnose diseases in an old-fashioned way, while their patients might also be hesitant to utilise teledermatology due to a sheer lack of awareness. This is more likely in villages with low education levels which would ironically benefit from the teledermatology market the most. There is also a challenge of complex regulations which govern both technology & medicine across various countries. There can even be different laws in different states within the same country sometimes. (Like the U.S.). The long-term prospects of the teledermatology market are very bright, these challenges notwithstanding.
Teledermatology Market Key Regions
North America is the largest teledermatology market in the world, followed by the APAC region. While Europe is expected to remain steady, Asia Pacific will record the highest growth rates because of government investment in both telecommunications equipment and the medical industry, boosting the Asian teledermatology market.
Teledermatology Market Key Market Players
Key teledermatology market players around the world are Iagnosis, Dermlink, Click Diagnostics, AMD Global Telemedicine Inc., GE Healthcare, Philips Healthcare and Honeywell Life Care Solutions.
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