TDS Telemedicine store and forward diagnostic services right business at right time in USA

Newark 22 May 2003TDS Telemedicine Inc. (TDST) is in the process of transferring a successful technology and business plan from the United Kingdom to the United States. The British company, now a subsidiary, was established in 1998 for the purpose of providing diagnostic services in the fields of dermatology and retinopathy via Internet digital communication between the patient and diagnosing specialist physicians. This service is particularly valuable to people who live far from a specialist or are immobile, such as many nursing home patients. The move into the United States is the result of both the company's acquired experience and expertise and the size of the potential market. Management projects significant growth of both sales and earnings once the company has established a foothold in the United States.

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TDS Telemedicine released an independent report prepared by Julius Goldfinger, Certified Financial Analyst and member of the New York Society of Financial Analysts. Roger Coomber, TDS Managing Director and company CEO, stated: "Mr. Goldfinger confirms that the company, in providing diagnostic services in the fields of dermatology and retinopathy via Internet digital communication between the patient and diagnosing specialist physicians, is in the right business at the right time, and that the company with operations in the United Kingdom and about to commence in Texas, could prosper over the next several years."

Telemedicine is becoming more and more a worldwide established method for diagnosing medical problems from a distance. It is particularly useful in areas where there are no, or a limited number of, specialists in certain branches of medicine. Many believe the growth of telemedicine as a diagnostic tool is assured.

TDST has a proprietary technology that allows it to store and forward diagnostic information electronically. This is done via a trained, highly skilled nurse in a medical non-specialist's office, using a specially designed camera to take a picture and forward it digitally and securely encrypted, to a specialist any distance away. The specialist reviews the picture, assesses it, and forwards his diagnosis back to the patient's physician. This allows for expert diagnosis and care no matter how much distance separates the patient from the specialist. These nurses will operate out of clinics, which are located in doctor's offices, local health centres, or hospital outpatient departments.

There are several advantages to the company's ability to perform this service. Perhaps the most important is the ability, in certain cases, to prevent medical problems from being left unattended and to worsen over time. Early detection of skin cancer, for instance, could lead to proper treatment and the prevention of more serious consequences. Diabetes, if left undetected, could create very serious problems, including heart disease or stroke, amputation of a leg, or blindness. There are approximately 17 million people in the United States affected by diabetes.

The company's diabetic retinopathy screening service uses both fixed and mobile sites so that diabetics can have annual check-ups that might not otherwise be available to them. This can lead to the detection of early risks of other than sight impairment. Diabetes is the leading cause of blindness, 24.000 people losing their sight every year in the United States. Much of this can be reversed with early detection. Another benefit to the company, and perhaps the largest of all, would be its ability to help pharmaceutical companies speed up their clinical trials. The company is in discussions with two major hospitals regarding this ability.

Third party reimbursement is an important factor in TDST's future growth plans in the United States. Currently, certain types of telemedicine services are reimbursed by Medicare and Medicaid, as well as by many third party private insurers. Also, the constant political battle regarding medical coverage for those that are uninsured is likely to continue. The company feels it can demonstrate that its services often reduce long-term medical costs by diagnosing problems that are treatable before they become major and, therefore, more costly to treat.

Patients that are not ambulatory and need assistance such as a health care provider and/or car service to reach a medical facility, clearly would be less expensive for third party providers using TDST's services. This would include many nursing home patients. The company is close to an arrangement with some Texas communities to service some part of the Texas/Mexican border area via Medicare and Medicaid. This is a pilot programme and, if successful, management is hopeful that it will be picked up elsewhere in the state as well as spread to other parts of the country.

TDST recently released its first quarter report, which showed a loss of $221.984 versus a loss of $81.662 for the comparable quarter last year. Sales were down correspondingly. Management claimed this was not unexpected, and in its discussion of the quarter described the policy in Great Britain of the National Health Service budget payment being deferred until the second quarter of the year, and management's efforts to raise new capital had hindered its ability to develop new business opportunities in the United States.

The company has a working capital deficit and its earlier annual report contained the auditor's statement regarding substantial doubt about the company's ability to continue as a going concern. The company is currently in discussions with an investment group about raising much needed new capital. In its earlier report, management estimated a small profit in 2003 and much higher sales and earnings in the following years. However, TDST must raise additional capital to implement its growth programme. That is very high up on management's list.

The company is in the right business at the right time, and could prosper over the next several years. Management is well qualified to implement its business plan having developed the necessary expertise in Great Britain over a period of time. And, most importantly, the United States market should be much larger than the British market, particularly if health care coverage is expanded on the national level.

The company's subsidiary TDS (Telemedicine) Ltd. established its telemedicine business in the United Kingdom in 1998 with the development of a proprietary method to store and forward diagnostic information electronically in the field of dermatology and diabetic retinopathy. The company, having initially commenced operations in North Western England, now operates nationally in the United Kingdom. The company expects to commence diagnostic services in Texas, USA, in the fields of dermatology and retinopathy by the third quarter of 2003. More news can be found in the VMW April 2003 article tds (Telemedicine) expands its services from dermatology to diabetic retinopathy.


Leslie Versweyveld

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