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Generally, costs of diagnosis, treatment, follow up of patients, medical observation, require important financial, material, and human resources, regardless if they are covered by governmental programs and policies, or by private institutions. This issue represents an important burden in both economically developed and less developed countries. However, the last few decades have seen great developments in all areas of technology, which has created an amazing communication network for healthcare professionals and the general public alike.
Digitalization has led to a new field that aims to intersect the medical area, communications, and innovation, called TELEMEDICINE. Telemedicine uses modern information and communication technologies to improve patient outcomes by increasing access to care and medical information, and consequently, reducing the costs of medical care. Also, telemedicine requires continuous maintenance and innovation to keep on track with all the social and medical changes in the world. Thus, this field works in very strong connection with the IT one, and lately, there are more and more requests to the IT field for digital tools to help telemedicine work as efficiently as possible.
Through telemedicine, medical workers have the opportunity to reduce the time wasted for medical visits, to reach out to a higher number of patients and to track the development of their diseases more efficiently, while patients have easy access to healthcare, through cell phone lines and web-clusters that are available for remote medical checks. This has enormous added value, especially for the remote diagnosis of simple cases and the quick treatment of these diagnoses. Furthermore, telemedicine has become a great tool for sharing experience with other professionals (medical workers, pharmaceutical workers, etc.) and even with national institutions.
In the last two years, telemedicine has seen a great rise due to the COVID-19 pandemic. In this situation, where safety regulations must be applied, the need for safe ways to access medical care has been continuously rising. As a response to the problem, more and more health institutions started providing tools for the public, in order to meet the needs of the patients and to respect the rules of isolation and quarantine. The pandemic we are experiencing has led to a great step forward in the implementation of telemedicine on a large scale.
A good implementation of telemedicine is seen in pharmaceutical testing trials, both for medicines and therapies. Tools associated with telemedicine offer an easy way of observing the trial participants and tracking the outcomes they experience. In the diagnosis area, there are some limitations, but there are plans and prototypes for implementing solutions in remote diagnosis, especially for the tests that require medical imaging techniques, etc.
The future of telemedicine seems to be bright. However, the health systems need to still find solutions to an array of limitations: economic status of a country or a region, the social, cultural, and religious differences that lead to fear, skepticism and distrust. Also, the linguistic barriers still represent an important challenge. The most important issues though, are the lack of digital training of the medical workers and the lack of public policies that stipulate how, when, where and with what resources can telemedicine be practiced.
Nevertheless, telemedicine is one of the greatest accomplishments in healthcare and the most promising problem-solver in boosting access to healthcare systems and services, even if only for medical actions of reduced complexity. But the technical field is still growing, so the rise of new improvements in medicine is a reachable objective for the years to come.
At Modis, we also work towards making this bright future possible, by dedicating efforts to supporting initiatives in digitalization and continuous innovation in our output and ways of working.
– Diana Escariu