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The accelerating development of telemedicine, and the opportunities that it provides for invasion of privacy, error, etc., are at the heart of why it really is “A Jungle Out There.”
Fifteen years ago I worked with a small telemedicine company that provided psychological services by telemedicine. It was badly needed. In some parts of the very rural south center of my state of Virginia, as well as in Appalachia, some communities were hours away from a psychologist.
Mental health is critical to overall health. It aggravates or directly causes other health problems, as well as contributes to crime, homelessness, employment problems, suicide risk, and so forth. This all came back to me as I read the first article, “Is Telemedicine the Next Big Thing . . . Again?” Yes, it is.
It will help to provide medical care to communities that have little, and it will drive down costs in those communities. It may become a standard procedure for some specialties. It is a critical service.
How do you manage it? Standard of care varies from community to community. Will telemedicine eliminate or reduce that variance? How do we regulate it? How do we address patent concerns?
Medical providers typically are licensed by the state. What if someone in Boston provides emergency advice/care to a primary care physician (and patient) in rural Montana? Is she licensed to do that? Is she liable if the primary care physician does not properly understand the instructions? Is the primary care physician liable if the instructions are wrong?
These are important questions, and our authors have answers for many of them! The final article talks about Agile, a development tool for software design and drafting. I worked with many software developers early in my career, but I did not know anything about this.
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