Health care applications for the iPhone, text messages from physicians and even Nintendo’s Wii Fit video game are versions of telemedicine, according to Jonathan Linkous, chief executive officer of the American Telemedicine Association. Jackson Hole Star Tribune story.
In an article from National Center for Policy Analysis (NCPA), one of the key arguments is the shortage of primary care physicians and how telemedicine can extend their reach. Could it also reduce emergency room use – perhaps for the chronically ill especially with remote monitoring over the internet for blood pressure, glucose readings, etc. Telemedicine, if done right, can improve adherence to protocols and improve care. Two barriers noted is the reluctance of payers to approve this care and not allowing foreign doctors to provide care remotely, although I am not sure that I would agree with the latter.
Telemedicine certainly holds some potential, and if properly funded and regulated (not over-regulated), could extend safe,effective care to the home.