Management in Health, Vol 24, No 1 (2020)

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TELEMEDICINE IN CURRENT HEALTH CARE – general considerations and possibilities of use in the field of rehabilitation

Mihaela GALAON, Marius CIUTAN

Abstract


Telemedicine has begun to be approached by more and more medical systems because it offers the possibility of providing remote healthcare and its main benefits are in reducing costs and increasing access to care and improving the effectiveness of diagnosis and treatment. Telehealth is a term associated with telemedicine which includes a broader definition of distance healthcare and does not always involve clinical services.   

The factors that help to implement this system are represented by the development of information technology and the increasing access of the population to computers and/or mobile devices. Telemedicine will be used more and more in the future, due to the important benefits to health systems such as: increased access to care (when we refer to the long distances and travel time between doctors and patients); expanding access to specialist services; permanent communication between different groups of health professionals allowing the sharing of medical experiences, discussions on complex cases, consultation of experts or just to request a second opinion; increasing patient involvement, allowing them to connect more frequently with a physician in a convenient way; the possibility of remote monitoring - telemonitoring - of vital signs and activities of the patient by specialists.

However, there are limitations of telemedicine such as: lack of clinical examination of the patient; the lack of a highly developed digital infrastructure for healthcare professionals; limited number of medical specialties where telemedicine can be used; patients' reluctance about results; reduced accessibility for people with limited financial possibilities, who cannot purchase communication devices or who do not have the technical knowledge to use them.

Currently, telemedicine is successfully used in cardiology, psychiatry, surgery, dermatology, medical rehabilitation, etc.  

In Romania, telemedicine is a relatively new concept that has become better known following the establishment of the state of emergency due to the COVID-19 pandemic. In 2018, the first legislative measures were taken, when the rural and military telemedicine information system was established as part of the health information system. In March 2020, a government decision established several provisions regarding the possibility of granting remote consultations, but also the transmission of medical documents by digital means. It is expected that after the end of the pandemic this system of providing medical services will continue and strengthen.

 

Keywords: telemedicine, telehealth, telerehabilitation, legal framework


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Journal published by SNSPMS