Trends in Telemedicine
This study was conducted to better understand the trends affecting the use of telemedicine. The widespread adoption of telemedicine, like virtually all high technology innovations, is particularly dependent on meeting the needs of end-users. More than 500 members of The Science Advisory Board's Clinical Panel participated in this project and offered their opinions and insights on a technology undergoing great transformation.
Although the definition of telemedicine may vary, the concept is not new. From its inception, the goal of telemedicine has been to overcome the time and distance barriers that separate the caregiver from the patient. While the proponents of telemedicine have promoted its potential to revolutionize healthcare, widespread adoption of the technology has been hampered by a number of technological, regulatory and other barriers. Interest in telemedicine, however, has been re-ignited by remarkable developments in computers and telecommunications. Until very recently, text, sounds, pictures, and video have been disseminated independently of each other over separate media, and have been controlled by separate industries. Due to the phenomenon known as digital convergence previously distinct industries and technologies are evolving, interconnecting, and merging in completely new ways.
The impact of convergence is forcing radical rethinking and restructuring of many traditional paradigms in the practice of telemedicine. Convergence is presenting both practitioners and vendors with a vast array of new opportunities. Innovations such as computer-based patient records, remote consultations, hospital information systems, computer-based decision support tools, community health information networks, and new ways of distributing health information to professionals and consumers are supported by, and in some cases reliant on, the widespread use of networked telemedicine technologies. Exploiting the opportunities of convergence, however, will require close collaboration between visionary healthcare professionals and innovative companies to creatively combine new and existing technologies to produce cost-effective solutions.
Among the study's major findings:
Two different questionnaires were completed by members of the Clinical Panel. One questionnaire was designed for those with "hands-on" experience with telemedicine, while the second was designed to measure the perceptions of those professionals who have yet to use the technology. The results of this study show an overwhelmingly positive disposition toward telemedicine and a remarkable similarity between the experiences of "users" and the perceptions of "non-users."
To read selected members' comments, please click here.
To request information on purchasing the full report, please contact Karen Blaine at The Science Advisory Board.
[ View Current & Future Studies ]
[ View Past Studies ]