It can be argued that technological advancements have a significant relationship with medical advancements. From the improvements in the equipment that the patients depend upon to the accessible of records and more manageable workflow, the medical profession has become a product of these technological advancements. However, it is important to recognize the potential risks of implementing new technology as well as the effects of these risks on global and community health, alike. One such technological advancement that carries with it greater risks than potential benefits is the use of telemedicine.
According to Hong (2016) telemedicine is being implemented as a method of care intended to increase access to medical professionals and minimize the necessity for travel to seek the medical advice of specialists. Yet, Hong (2016) notes that there are insufficient policies in place to protect the medical professionals and the patients from ethical concerns. Among these are the cross cultural and language barriers that could prevent effective communication of the medical assessment that would otherwise be clarified in a traditional clinical setting. Kon and Walter (2016) add that the current policies of HIPAA are difficult to regulate through the use of telemedicine leaving the patient vulnerable and the medical professionals at a higher risk of legal and ethical implications. Additionally, Kon and Walter (2016) state that the medical professional cannot be fully present in a telemedicine consultation due to the limitations of observation. Therefore, the medical professional cannot provide a full assessment of the patient and critical health issues could be overlooked.
In closing, technology has its place in the health care profession but a cost benefit analysis of telemedicine clearly supports the claim that it carries too many risks to be implemented effectively. Not only can patient outcomes suffer, but the medical professionals are left with the potential for legal and ethical implications. At present, until these issues can be resolved, it is not in the best interest of the medical profession to implement such a policy.
- Hong, Y. A. (2016). Medical Tourism and Telemedicine: A New Frontier of an Old Business. Journal of medical internet research, 18(5).
- Kon, A. A., & Walter, M. R. J. (2016). Health care ethics consultation via telemedicine: Linking expert clinical ethicists and local consultants. AMA journal of ethics, 18(5), 514.