E-Health, Telemedicine, Health Informatics – each of them buzz words that has become lumped into a brand new type of medical field – one based from implementations of technology and software just as much from expert opinions and medical advice.
The major break from this introduction in 1996 to the practice of telemedicine in a more recognizable form for us today is live video teleconferencing (what we would now simply refer to as a live video web chat). Much of the concern that resides within this first early introduction to telemedicine is simple – the ability to see, talk and interact with a live medical professional (your doctor) up close and in person is paramount.
We are still far too early in the rollout of E-Health/Telemedicine to make any important decisions already; right? Or are we? Some argue that it would be improper to not invest big money and patience behind E-Health just because we are unsure that it will work.
“In 2002, each day there were 55 new clinical trials taking place, 1260 new articles indexed in MEDLINE (a network database for health care professionals) and 5000 papers published in the biomedical sciences. The world produced 5 exabytes of new information each and every day [starting in 2002], 90% of it being currently stored on magnetic tape media.” (Kwankam 2004).
At the exact same time that consumer electronics & computers have reached all-time highs for market penetration – the technology has finally begun to catch up with the way that people really want to live their lives in our modern era.
“Information technology and consumerism are synergetic forces that together promote an information age health care system where, [ideally] consumers can use information technology to access information at home and control their own health..”
Gunther Eysenbach, (MD)
This type of opinion (by the health care providers themselves) was not always the case. There was once a time not too long ago when the only respectable course of action for any type of medical duress is to consult with a professional. If you do not have a specialist doctor available immediately in order to treat any particular condition, the patient would generally see their attending physician who can offer not only his own external evidence and medical knowledge but can also refer you directly to another medical professional with direct experience to consult. So your general physician would act not only as a main source of information (external evidence from the medical profession), he or she was also acting as your gatekeeper to the entire collection of medicine-based treatments.