Shyam Subramanian, MD: Telemedicine is Perfectly Suited for Pulmonary Care

There's a perfect storm brewing that makes telemedicine an inevitability in the management of conditions like asthma and COPD.

As the treatment landscape for COPD and asthma evolves, there are several indicators suggesting that telemedicine is forecasted to become a huge factor in patient care. According to Dr Shyam Subramanian, the big question isn't if telemedicine will become the norm, it's when.


Telemedicine today is probably where Amazon and retail were 15 years ago. The retail approach to health care, if you will, is going to be a dinosaur 20 years from now. The writing's on the wall, and I think unless we proactively adopt, and adapt ourselves to that future, we are going to lose out bigtime.

There is a perfect storm, if you will. Increasing health care costs, increasing prevalence of diseases like asthma and COPD, that are growing at a rate we never thought possible. There's escalating health care costs of providing for that, a severe shortage of physician work force to meet that escalating demand, consumerism where patients are becoming more aware of their health, access to information across the web in ways that are unprecedented, and that are growing.

A focus of big technology - whether it's Apple, Google, Amazon - on wearable medical technologies including the Apple watch, the fitbit. These players are going to drive consumers - not just patients, but general consumers - towards becoming more aware of their own health, and monitoring it using wearable devices.

At the end of it, there's the patient-centric approach that is now being advocated by heath care policy. At the very center of a patient-centric approach is access. What better way to provide access to the patient than in his own home, on his own smartphone or mobile device?

The patient visits, the physician visits become redundant. Hospitalizations will, of course, be there, but how do you prevent them by proactively enabling the patient to have access to medical care when he needs it, or even before he thinks he needs it?

All that is creating this perfect storm where telemedicine is sort of here to stay.