With more and more patients often living with symptoms from chronic diseases, with fewer health care professionals to manage the conditions and with the explosion in technological possibilities, it is obvious that telemedicine and welfare technology is in focus these days. Apps and online tools help healthcare professionals to take care of more patients and helps patients get in contact with health care, but many health care professionals are thinking that these e-solutions are sacrificing the personal contact and interaction from the traditional consultation. I was reminded about this a few days ago when a patient came to visit me in my clinic to discuss the progress in his pain management. He had been to my office two times for the previous two months, where we had made agreements on the goal for his treatment, and had started new medication that he should gradually increase. He continued with the physiotherapist and started to exercise at home. We had been monitoring his condition by eDoloTest from the first consultation and he had both from home and from work been able to complete the DoloTest-Profile by the online access. When we met again he started by telling me how glad he was for the possibility to be in contact by eDoloTest, when he had scored a new DoloTest-Profile I send him a short e-mail with my comments on his progress, and this had been of great importance to him knowing that he was not alone.
In a Danish survey 1100 patients with chronic diseases like COPD, arthritis and diabetes, were asked about their attitude to telemedicine. Among this large population of patients,
- 70% believe that use of telemedicine as video consultations and monitoring of the conditions at distance would ease their lives
- 60% of the participants would like to use the possibilities these information technologies provide as a way to stay in ongoing contact with their doctors and other healthcare professionals and to get feedback without having an appointment at the hospital or clinic every time.
- More than 55% of the respondents experience less continuity in the treatment and in the process of managing their condition due to lack of shared care between the different healthcare professionals, and half of the respondents have experienced data missing when they are at the hospital or clinic visit.
- 35% of the 1100 participants thought that use of telemedicine in the managing of their condition would reduce their visits by 50% at their doctor and other healthcare providers. With the enormous and still growing need for care at all levels of healthcare, this is very interesting and very important.
My patient and all the persons in this survey are telling us, that welfare technology solutions and telemedicine can and may be used to improve not just disease management but also improve patient centered care.
Kim Kristiansen, M.D. (2012). H(APP)iness Online Picture of Pain