Monday, July 27, 2009

Should the US act to fasten the adoption of telemedicine solutions?

he market for telemedicine solutions is constantly rising but experts wonder whether the Washington should actively move to encourage the development of telemedicine solutions?

According to a report published by US Department of Commerce the answer to this question is absolutely yes. The report, which was written by International Trade Specialist Matthew A. Hein from the International Trade Administration, concluded that: "the time to raise telemedicine’s profile has arrived, so that patients across the United States and the globe can benefit from the efficiencies that telemedicine can provide in fulfilling healthcare needs."

Hain said that in the current environment of a shortage of healthcare professionals, greater incidence of chronic conditions, and rising healthcare costs, telemedicine offers a potential tool to improve efficiency in the delivery of healthcare.

He said that the need for telemedicine is supported by the following factors:
  • Significant increase in the U.S. population
  • Shortage of healthcare professionals
  • Increasing incidence of chronic diseases
  • Need for efficient care of the elderly, home-bound, and physically challenged patients
  • Lack of specialists and health facilities in rural areas
  • Adverse events, injuries and illness at hospitals and physician’s offices
  • Need to improve community and population health
Hain concluded that telemedicine can play an important role in providing solutions to these challenges. He called on the U.S. Department of Commerce to play an important role in addressing barriers and to collaborate to deliver telemedicine products and services.