Telemedicine; A Quick Approach To Healthcare

Introduction

The term “telemedicine” was developed in the 1970s to refer to “distance healing,” or the use of Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) to improve patient outcomes by facilitating access to care and medical knowledge. Later, telemedicine/telehealth was defined by the World Health Organization (WHO) as “the delivery of health care services, where distance is a critical factor, by all health care professionals using information and communications technologies (ICT) for the exchange of valid information in diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of disease and injuries, research and evaluation, and continuing education of health care providers, all in the interdisciplinary environment.”

The provision of medical services via information or communication technology is known as telemedicine. Telemedicine can augment the provision of healthcare in the present pandemic situation in the absence of in-person visits. Given that telemedicine is a developing field, educating medical experts, outlining clear policies, and implementing high-quality internet service infrastructure will all help telemedicine become more widely accepted.

Health and convenience are both improved through telemedicine, which permits video or phone consultations between a patient and their doctor. More healthcare providers now provide online and mobile “seeing” for patients.

According to Brian Hasselfeld, M.D., associate medical director for digital health innovations at Johns Hopkins Medicine,

Health institutions are offering virtual appointments and are extending their telehealth alternatives, particularly in light of the COVID-19 epidemic.

Telemedicine services are becoming increasingly widespread as communication technology advances, with the majority of interactions and record-keeping procedures now being done digitally. While this cutting-edge approach of providing healthcare has numerous benefits for both patients and professionals, it also has some unexpected consequences that risk managers and policy management teams must address. Telemedicine has the ability to transform patient-centered treatment. Medical information is now maintained digitally, and patient data are delivered online and retrieved in real-time as technology advances.

Despite these advantages, there are serious concerns regarding how the development of telemedicine may impact healthcare. To ensure that telemedicine is ethically acceptable, four potential pitfalls must be foreseen and avoided: the deterioration of the patient-physician relationship, risks to patient privacy, the imposition of one-size-fits-all implementations, and the temptation to assume that new technology must be effective. In fact, it has several benefits, the most notable of which are faster access to medical facilities and a closer proximity between the patient and the doctor, especially in areas where access to medical services is problematic.

In this situation, telemedicine services have proven to be essential for meeting the growing healthcare needs. Through the use of telemedicine services, it has been possible to prevent or minimize the risks of patient or healthcare worker contagion and to avoid direct or indirect physical contact with patients or other healthcare professionals in hospitals, clinics, or other healthcare settings (unless necessary). This has the potential to slow the spread of the COVID-19 virus.

Potential Privacy Risks

Lack of restrictions or controls on the gathering, using, and disclosing of sensitive personal data is one of the privacy concerns of telehealth. Sensitive data regarding household activities may unintentionally be collected by sensors that are placed in a patient’s home or that connect with the patient’s body to identify safety concerns or medical crises. Home sensors that are designed to detect falls, for instance, may also communicate information about contacts with a spouse or religious activity, or they may even let you know when no one is home. Patients provide their permission to use a health app, have sensors inserted, or have a gadget implanted. But a heavy dependence on permission frequently leads to inadequate privacy safeguards. Patients typically fail to read and comprehend privacy rules, and permission shifts responsibility for privacy protection to the patient, who might not be able to make informed privacy decisions.

Health care businesses will need to continue investing in telemedicine security services as virtual health care becomes more popular and capable in order to identify hazards and mitigate them. The following five crucial aspects need to be addressed:

  1. Medical equipment and wearables security
  2. Identity management and authentication for external devices
  3. Monitoring and analysis of behavioral patterns in telemedicine security
  4. Development, security, and operations
  5. Training and knowledge about telemedicine security
Risks to patient privacy and security issues in telemedicine

Telemedicine privacy risks and security considerations

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The areas of vulnerability in health care as a whole may increase due to the introduction of new instruments in virtual health that communicate information across more sites. The risk exposure in these critical areas of cyber risk is increased by virtual health. Some of the key areas for the risk exposure are enlisted below:

  1. Technology failure
  2. Lack of informed consent
  3. Complex identity and access management
  4. Higher compliance standards
  5. Physical Security Risks
  6. An outdated IT infrastructure
  7. Increased third-party risks

Provider organizations may help more consumers and providers feel comfortable using virtual health by addressing the five major areas of cyber risk highlighted. Patients and providers alike will be more willing to participate in virtual health and support its expansion if the security is solid in practice and the perception of it is consistent with reality.

Ethical Considerations

One of the most crucial concerns for any healthcare technology initiative is ethics. The area of healthcare is complex, dynamic, and constantly evolving, and there are an increasing number of ethical questions to take into account. When it comes to healthcare, ethical concerns are a branch of applied ethics that is concerned with the moral judgments that medical staff members must make. The moral and ethical perspectives in medicine frequently change depending on the nation and culture. Although technology can help the healthcare industry, there are possible ethical problems that could result from its usage in some circumstances. Although there are various possible ethical problems, protecting patient privacy is crucial. There are various methods to support patients with their medical requirements while simultaneously protecting sensitive information. Technology use in hospitals will inevitably raise ethical questions. These worries include patient data privacy and transparency, technology’s complexity and risks, corporate effect, economic considerations, and ethical principles.

In order to stop the spread of the disease amongst healthcare personnel and patients, telemedicine—which now involves a growing number of medical experts—became a critical service during the COVID-19 pandemic. Even yet, significant ethical and legal issues still need to be resolved in order to effectively control the delivery of these services.

Four fundamental ethical principles for making decisions in the healthcare industry are embraced by the ethical framework and is given by;

1. Autonomy: Obtain the patient’s preferences so that their autonomy can be respected.
2. Beneficence: To behave in the patient’s best interest is to be beneficent.
3. Justice: Follow the law to decide the boundaries of healthcare.
4. Non-Maleficence: Identify harm and figure out how to prevent it.

To comprehend and balance patients’ wants and wishes, healthcare professionals must work in collaboration with them. Speaking with patients is essential to preventing ethical lapses in today’s collaborative healthcare system. Never assume what a patient wants or needs; this includes medical professionals.

Medical ethical dilemmas need to be resolved whenever a patient receives therapy. Waiting list issues, access to medical resources, and judgments on the best course of treatment all provide ethical conundrums. Be aware that moral and legal are not the same thing. While yet being entirely legal, something can be immoral. The medical personnel is not legally compelled to work more quickly, for instance, if the emergency department is frequently backlogged. On the other hand, it can be ethical to bring up the issue with the hospital’s management staff in an effort to come up with solutions that would allow for more rapid patient care. Healthcare ethics are a difficult topic, and sometimes even the morally correct choice may not seem like the most ethical course of action.

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