When defining anything in the emergent market of telehealth and
consumer-centric medicine, a key step is identifying a business plan or strategy on the telehealth spectrum, which ranges from very clinical, diagnostic applications to consumer-facing wellness solutions. Tiers along this spectrum have been forming for years, but never have they been as critically important as they are now for the telehealth space. In reference to patient outcomes, clinical telehealth is an aspect of healthcare that most developed countries handle decently well, albeit not always at the best cost or with great efficiency. An example of the extreme end of this spectrum would be the highly acute hospital
setting. Here, telehealth is used to replace or add to existing clinical services that plan to diagnose and/or treat patients. These services are typically highly customized and regulated, and the scrutiny of information and outcomes is quite high. On the complete opposite end of the spectrum is the world of consumer telehealth, which is heavily focused on the wellness and preventive aspect of healthcare. Typically, less-skilled healthcare personnel or consumers themselves run these services. Unlike the clinical side, these services and products are more standardized and less regulated, with ease of use being paramount. Many market opportunities fall somewhere between clinical applications and wellness applications, with areas that can be plotted along the spectrum that vary as you move around according to technical ability, cost, size of user demographic and customer groups, regulatory stringency, status of FDA approval, etc. Understanding where your product or service is or should be moving toward on this spectrum is a key starting point in telehealth offerings.