Mediaplanet: Why do you believe that telemedicine is the future of healthcare?

Sir Richard Branson: Being smarter with data and technology will improve healthcare: doctors will be able to provide better care and patients can receive faster treatment, all at a lower cost to the industry.

MP: How does telemedicine improve quality of life for patients?

SRB: Some people have trouble leaving the house and others live miles from a specialist. It can take hours to travel to a physician’s office, sit in their waiting room, and travel back home. With telemedicine you can see a physician immediately, without leaving home when you’re sick.

MP: What benefits does telemedicine offer to physicians?

INCREASING EFFICIENCY: "Allowing people to monitor their own health data will also encourage healthier living and maybe prevent the need for them to see a doctor in the first place," Branson shares.

SRB: Physicians can spend their time treating patients, not filling out paperwork, and grow their practice reaching more patients while saving time and money from travelling between clinics and hospitals.

MP: What made you want to get involved in the telemedicine industry?

SRB: Good health is crucial to living a happy life and everyone should be able to access medical treatment or a doctor. Telemedicine gives patients access to faster, more cost-effective treatment and improves the industry’s efficiency.

MP: What innovations exist that patients can take advantage of?

SRB: There are some fantastic applications like Doctor On Demand, which we have invested in and which is an easy and low cost way to reach primary care doctors.  Also, wearable tech devices to monitor your vitals are a great way for doctors to access patient health data that has been accumulated over a long period of time and make a better diagnosis.

MP: You often talk about unnecessary healthcare costs. How can telemedicine improve this?

SRB: Reducing the cost of healthcare is one of the main reasons for adopting telemedicine. Patients and doctors won’t have to travel to hospitals and can instead use videoconferencing to talk with each other. Doctors can share electronic health records for more personalized and responsive care. Allowing people to monitor their own health data will also encourage healthier living and maybe prevent the need for them to see a doctor in the first place.