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April 11, 2007

Using telemedicine to create intimacy

Connected_healthIn the discussion forum at the Center for Connected Health, the question is raised by Jon Darsee as to whether the lack of widespread acceptance of telemedicine projects might be related to the opinion that these might not be addressing the need that patients have for personal contact with the healthcare professional.

In this past, these projects were viewed as important for their ability to monitor and collect data efficiently, and the allow consultation with experts who are not nearby.

But, this could be a good selling point to consider:

One potential answer is this. Patients crave intimacy in direct proportion to their inability to get it within the bricks and mortar of our traditional healthcare system. Telemedicine has done a remarkable job of extending that healthcare system into the home. But that may not be enough. Perhaps the answer is at the other end; not so much in creating convenience and timeliness of data collection or remote monitoring, but in using telemedicine as a tool to forge a stronger human connection, to create intimacy that may be absent or lacking from the lives of many sufferers of chronic diseases.

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