PUBH 6001 Assessment 2
Kaur Rajdeep 00239028T
Introduction: Telemedicine is a term which is used in various aspects of health and includes the use of telecommunication technologies in medical services. In this there is use of electronic signals to transfer information from one place to another and medical personnel have implemented telemedicine to improve patient care. Moreover, telemedicine is very effective at the time of emergency in rural areas as through video conferencing one can reduce travel and save the life. This report will focus on the barriers of uptake of telemedicine, different ICT/infrastructure available for telemedicine and solutions to solve the barriers of uptake of telemedicine.
Barriers for uptake of telemedicine: Barriers are hindrances in the achievement of goals or obstacles in the progress of goals. There are barriers in uptake of Telemedicine in Australia. The Australian government presented Medicare item numbers in July 2011 for the purpose of providing health related benefits to the remote, rural and Aboriginal communities where the health services are less and for residential aged care facilities, which also have lack of access to specialist services. Although the initiatives were good, but these services were used very less, only 0.24% of the total clinical activity and proportion of people to use these services was less due to various barriers. Lack of training and knowledge of the technology is considered as most important barrier which is related to less adoption of these services (Wade & Soar et al.2014).
In rural Australia there are other barriers that hinder the adoption of telehealth, these are from government side, application developers and providers, health professionals and patients side and include regulatory, financial, cultural, technological and workforce barriers (Jang-Jaccard et al.2014).
Stakeholder Regulatory Financial Cultural Technological Workforce
Government Lack of policies and laws High expenditure for infrastructure of telehealthLack of collaborative nature of telehealth like prevalence of blame shifting between state and federal government. Limited internet access. Inconsistent policies.
Health professionals Malpractice and lack of standards. Funding for equipment Preference to traditional medical services. Lack of IT skills. Lack of training to upgrade with technologies.
Application developers and providers Lack of quality telehealth products and software. Lack of financial benefits. Lack of strategy. Less understanding of technical issues. Lack of IT skilled workforce in rural areas
Patients Lack of trust on technological devices due to security issues Lack of financial support from government. Lack of understand ding of benefits of e-health. Illiteracy and lack of computer knowledge. Believe in local services.
Potential ICT/infrastructure support structure available for supporting telemedicine initiatives and recommend strategies for addressing the challenges:
With the innovation of information technology and the products of innovation in the field of health services, the level of care has increased a lot. Telemedicine has been used from the last few decades and it has improved the health care facilities, patient satisfaction, reduced travel time and cost and improved efficiency & effectiveness in health care facilities. The use of telemedicine has increased in Australia, but some rural and remote areas are deprived off telehealth services and this deprivation is positively related with the role of government in delivering the telehealth. It includes lack of government policy, security and technology infrastructure.
Therefore government should emphasize on improvements in infrastructures in which there is regular updation of doctors and other health personnel with the technical innovations. For example, there should be courses for the health personnel in the rural areas to adopt new technical information. Furthermore, adequate funding from government for the establishment and proper functioning of telehealth in rural areas is necessary as there is high expenditure on establishment of infrastructure of telehealth which cannot be possible without the support of government.
Apart from funding, confidential information and privacy of patient are also important as people in rural and remote areas are less educated and they don’t believe in technical information and don’t trust on it due to privacy issues. Hence, there is need of education related to how to delete the information in case mobile or electric gadget is stolen (Shaqrah et al.2010).
Challenges for the uptake of telemedicine:
The ICT has helped in innovation of new products and software for medical field and which has improved the efficiency and effectiveness of care. The use of Telemedicine has improved the health care facilities a lot, but still the adoption of telehealth in rural Australia is low.
Telemedicine has provided various benefits including improvements and increase in access to health care delivery; improved screening methods; reduced travel time & cost; reduced health care costs and overall improvements in health of people (Hjelm et al.2005). Different software in telemedicine has helped the patients as well as doctors a lot as patients can make online appointments with the doctors according to their needs. Additionally, Telemedicine using video conferencing in emergency cases where there is much distance between a doctor and a patient has proved to be very successful where family members can show symptoms of patient to doctor through video conferencing and can save the life by reducing time of travel.
However, organizations are facing challenges in implementation of telehealth and security and confidentiality are major challenges as there is leakage of information when transferring from one source to another, therefore, people have less trust on telemedicine. For this researchers in telemedicine need to collaborate with the experts of information technology to make telemedicine trustworthy and to disseminate the telemedicine (Garg & Brewer et al.2011). Other challenges are lack of internet access and lack of upgrading of personnel with technological inventions. For this there is need of broadband network to reduce interruption in health care and medical staff need to be enrolled in part-time courses to learn about new medical inventions (Paul et al.1999).
Conclusion: This article has explored the importance of telemedicine in Australia and has considered the remote and rural Australian access to telemedicine. Moreover, the barriers in uptake of telemedicine and the challenges faced by the organizations are also mentioned. The challenges of security, lack of technological skills and lack of internet facilities are mentioned in this article. The solutions of these challenges including collaboration between different departments of organizations and government to reduce the barriers in uptake of telemedicine are mentioned in this article.
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Paul, D. L., Pearlson, K. E., & McDaniel, R. R. (1999). Assessing technological barriers to telemedicine: technology-management implications. IEEE Transactions on engineering management, 46(3), 279-288.
Shaqrah, A. A. (2010). Adoption of telemedicine among health care services: The strategic adoption. Journal of E-health Management, 19, 66-74.Wade, V., Soar, J., & Gray, L. (2014). Uptake of telehealth services funded by Medicare in Australia. Australian Health Review, 38(5), 528-532.