The Telemedicine Healthcare Technology
The healthcare sector has advanced in terms of technology just like what other forms of the organizations have done. The telemedicine is a powerful healthcare technology, which has been introduced to minimize patient’s time in terms of queuing to seek for the medical attention. This technology only requires a patient to access the electronic gadgets where they will interact with medical doctors. The patients explain their health complications to the doctors via the electronic gadgets. From the other end, the medical doctors review the health complications articulated by the patient and they provide them with the prescriptions for their treatments (Worth, 2015). The patients are able to acquire these medical services in the comfort of their homes during any time of the day or night. The medium of communication may either be the audio or video conferencing. However, video conferencing has been identified to be more effective in telemedicine technology than the use of audio communication (Worth, 2015). Suffice to say, the patients interact with a medical specialist via online platforms and they get a medical prescription to their health complications.
Ethical Concerns Related to the Telemedicine Technology
There have been numerous ethical concerns, which have been forged to discredit the effectiveness of the telemedicine technology. Telemedicine has been cited as unethical since it is attached to the risk of providing medical prescriptions to an unknown patient. Some critics have held that a good medical prescription is only provided when the doctor can see, hear, and touch (Worth, 2015). Thus, the absence of face-to-face interactions distorts the quality of healthcare. Sarhan (2009) documented that the use of telemedicine erodes the virtue of confidentiality that is critical in the medical profession. The medical professionals may not leak out the confidential information of the patients, but the technological transmission mechanism might be tampered with to gain the client’s confidential information. This is a vice with the telemedicine technology, which propelled the British Medical Association to liaise with the NHS Information Management Group in setting up the conditions that a medical organization needs to meet in order to be considered safe for practicing the telemedicine technology (Sarhan, 2009). However, sometimes even the sophisticated telecommunications can be dismantled and this will create a threat to the confidentiality of the patient’s information. According to Randell et al (1998), as cited by Sarhan (2009), telemedicine promotes the ethical principle of beneficence by increasing the access to the care and reducing costs and this solves the traditional barriers of time and location.
The Unbeatable Benefits of Telemedicine Technology
Despite the numerous ethical concerns raised against the telemedicine technology, this technology has substantial benefits. As discussed by Surhan (2009), telemedicine solves the challenge of time and location. A patient does not have to visit the medical doctor at a certain location within a certain set time. They can easily get the medical prescriptions at the comfort of the homes or in any other place they deem necessary at any time of the day. The patients who may not have access to the video conferencing can easily interact with the medical professional via e-mails, messages or other mobile phone applications (Mehta, 2014). Despite the convenience benefits, the telemedicine technology also helps to meet the medical needs of the increasing number of patients (Mehta, 2014). This becomes possible since the doctor will not be limited to the few operational hours assigned during the day, but they will offer the medical services even during the odd hours.
1. Mehta, S. J. (2014). Telemedicine’s potential ethical pitfalls. Virtual Mentor, 16(12), 1014-1017
2. Sarhan, F. (2009). Telemedicine in healthcare. 2: The legal and ethical aspects of using new technology. Nursing times, 105(43), 18-20.
3. Worth, T. (2015). Telehealth: the balance between access and ethics. Medical Economics, 92(23), 29-32.