I was asked about my criteria regarding Telemedicine and E-health and who must lead the transformation. I understand there is a multifactorial background on that, where the economic aspect is undeniable, but I must say: “The cobbler should stick to his last”
Covid-19 is not going to make other diseases magically disappear. People will still have headaches, back pain, heart attacks, persistent dandruff, appendicitis, ingrowing nails… even at home, children will still fell while playing and cut open their chins and foreheads because that’s what they do. Also, other needs are not going to get erased. Women are still getting pregnant (some would say now more than ever with this quarantine and home confinement ), kids still need to get vaccinated, Chronic patients need their medicines and follow up…
It is up to medical systems designers to reinvent all the processes to keep helping humanity while we coexist with this disease.
Covid 19 is not leaving any time soon, but we must adapt to continue delivering health care; Telemedicine and Telehealth are both suitable options, so it is logical to increase these practices.
We live in a remarkable technological moment, but there is a lot to think about, starting from making these practices part of the Graduate Medical Education until Postgraduate CME or CPD and Certifications. Topics like guidelines and standards, accreditation, technology and solutions, malpractice, quality and safety, privacy, cybersecurity, information management or costs and remuneration are discussed nowadays.
There are many institutions that, until a couple of months ago, were seen as insane as we thought it would take more time to transform Medicine into a highly computerised and digitised practice. Now those companies are called pioneers that we should indeed look up but, is it reasonable to copy their functioning systems?
Providing Health Care is not the same as actually Caring.
The current pandemic has proven that we were not ready and must stop procrastinating, transforming every Health System globally into a patient-centred practice, which is something to consider when increasing the e-healthcare. We can not lose our humanity just because the direct human touch is limited.
It is not enough, during our current times, to provide excellent evidence based health care without the human component. Balancing the patients’ desires with their real needs and dealing with them personalised, without forgetting the psychosocial detail, will result in better outcomes for patients and institutions.
E-health practice demands that we strengthen our abilities as interrogators; also that we increase our sense of differentiation and association of details, our observation … it’s been like a reset, a start over, but we have to give it all to fulfil our main goals in the patients care: “do no harm, but also do good”.