With the rapid development of computing technology, the medical field has also changed drastically with the increase of convenience, quality, and favorability for the patients. One such example is telemedicine which deals with the exchange of medical information through electronic communication in order to improve the health status of the patients effectively. It has the potential to be a major breakthrough in the way healthcare delivery is done in remote places. But, the progress yet to reach even half of the potential as it was envisioned by its evangelists a decade back. Bottlenecks are more regulatory and legal in nature than technical.
Why is telemedicine not used more often?
Besides being too complicated to use in real time applications for doctors and fear of medical liability concerns most medical practitioners. The other reason which is clicking out of nowhere these days is the risk of security and privacy regulations for providers. Given the sensitive nature of healthcare delivery, governments are apprehensive to make laws and regulations which are favorable for adoption of telemedicine. Apart from that, a strong financial lobby for status-quo is not helping the case for the wider adoption of telemedicine.
How communication takes place?
As the advanced telecommunication technologies are used to treat or prevent illness and support the health of individuals, it uses a wide range of sensors. These sensors are used to detect, read and send readings to the provider’s information system. This means that a device that is used to treat the patient should be connected to a specific network as well. “The information collected from the patients by using some devices and software on Smartphones as well. Furthermore, the patients and the provider must trust the systems and networks in order to keep personal information secure and private. However, the chances of these networks leading to privacy risks can not be neglected,” says Dr.Kumar, an internal medicine specialist at DrSpring.
- As there are several sensors located in the home of the patient and even in the patient’s body to detect medical emergencies, there are chances that the sensitive information regarding the household activities can also be collected through them.
- The devices which tend to detect and collect information from the patient’s body to detect safety issues or else any emergencies can also transmit information through the network. This results in disclosing the personal interaction with spouse and also indicates when no one is in a home which is quite an adverse security risk.
- The app developer or manufacturer can also collect information from the routine transmission besides the health care provider which can involve security risks.
- Third-party advertisers are also shared with the information from the third-party app manufacturers which can collect your information to target ads to the patients based on the conversation and information.
- Some parts of the physical activities are surely the sensitive information which probably shouldn’t be disclosed to any others except the family members can also be transmitted.
- Privacy policies of the health app and the device’s manual couldn’t be completely read and understood by the users which can lead to the allowance of much personal information.
However, telemedicine is certainly a useful means of medical information exchange for remote areas and rural areas where people can’t consult a doctor without a substantial time lag. On the other hand, one could surely ensure the security and privacy risks involved in it and also HIPAA protections or go through some security controls to make good use of electronic communication technology.