Recognizing that current practices for healthcare delivery are no longer sustainable, OECD governments are focusing more and more on how to leverage ICT to facilitate superior healthcare delivery. One such possibility is the use of Telemedicine. A major goal of telemedicine today is to develop next-generation telemedicine tools and technologies. However, key "classic" barriers continue to challenge widespread telemedicine adoption by health care organizations. These barriers include technology, financial, legal/standards, business strategy, and human resources issues. This comparative study explores the current status of barriers and opportunities to the widespread adoption of telemedicine in two different countries: Sweden, and USA.
The rapid increase in mobile phone use and other telecommunication technologies in health care during the past decade has paved the way for optimism. mHealth (mobile health) initiatives need to be integrated into national health systems and priorities and fit into the system that the country has already invested in. Partnership between government, regional governments, health care systems, Community Health Workers, the private sector and universities is considered as a precondition for success. In turn, this requires strategic and integrative policy decisions on the national/regional level to be defined in the action plans as concrete steps. Decision makers are calling for scale-up plans to be in place even in the pilot phases. Hope is expressed that the initial joy and curiosity that new technology generates in the implementation phase will be transferred to routine work. Standards and a common technical architecture that enables interoperability and upscaling are key issues. Based on publications on policy and national strategies, this paper highlights some key areas for decision makers' role and expectations with regard to mHealth. The paper will also report some mHealth experiences from Ethiopia, Ghana and Sweden.
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Use of shared electronic health records opens a whole range of new possibilities for flexible and fruitful cooperation among health personnel in different health institutions, to the benefit of the patients. There are, however, unsolved legal and security challenges. The overall aim of this article is to highlight legal and security challenges that should be considered before using shared electronic cooperation platforms and health record systems to avoid legal and security "surprises" subsequent to the implementation. Practical lessons learned from the use of a web-based ulcer record system involving patients, community nurses, GPs, and hospital nurses and doctors in specialist health care are used to illustrate challenges we faced. Discussion of possible legal and security challenges is critical for successful implementation of shared electronic collaboration systems. Key challenges include (1) allocation of responsibility, (2) documentation routines, (3) and integrated or federated access control. We discuss and suggest how challenges of legal and security aspects can be handled. This discussion may be useful for both current and future users, as well as policy makers.
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Telemedicine improves access to both health-care and second opinions. However, the potential risks of telemedicine, such as breaches in patient confidentiality and security, need to be addressed in order to ensure that patients' rights are not violated. Used appropriately, telemedicine has the potential to enhance the rights of patients to high-quality, effective health-care.