Telemedicine Information Systems Evolution Paper the Gifts Essay

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Telemedicine

Information Systems Evolution Paper

The gifts and risks of Telemedicine: History and ethics

Introduction to telemedicine: A brief history

Telemedicine, or using technology to provide healthcare through remote means, may seem to have been spawned by recent, new advances in communications technology. It has proved invaluable to people living in rural areas inaccessible to modernized healthcare systems and to patients who cannot be moved without their health being severely compromised. However, telemedicine is actually over thirty years old. The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) played a critical role in the development of telemedicine as early as the 1960s. "NASA built telemedicine technology into early spacecraft and spacesuits to monitor astronauts' physiological parameters" (Allan, 2006, par.1). It is even possible to argue that something as simple as two doctors consulting with one another qualifies as telemedicine, or reading an online medical journal.Download full Download Microsoft Word File
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TOPIC: Essay on Telemedicine Information Systems Evolution Paper the Gifts Assignment

NASA worked with healthcare organizations to use its new technology to benefit communities in need. For example, in 1972 NASA created the Rural Papago Advanced Health Care (STARPAHC) program for telemedical help for Arizona's Papago Indian Reservation. "Engineered by NASA and Lockheed Missiles and Space Co. (now Lockheed-Martin), the system used two-way microwave transmissions to link paramedical personnel located in mobile (vans) and fixed stations with medical experts at hospitals in Tucson and Phoenix. The program lasted until 1975" (Allan, 2006, par.5). Today, thanks to telemedicine, a specialist at a North Carolina University Hospital can "diagnose a rural patient's hairline spinal fracture at a distance, using telemedicine video imaging," without the need to physically transport the patient at great risk to a specialist in a far-off city (Welsh 2004, par. 4). Almost every type of medicine can deploy telemedicine, from reading X-rays, to monitoring patient's blood pressure, to providing a psychiatric consultation.

Who maintains patient records?

In today's version of telemedicine, the practice of doctors viewing and consulting a case from a distance is far more common -- NASA is seldom involved! However, the widespread use of telemedicine also means that it is more prone to potential ethical breaches of confidentiality because of the need to share patient records through virtual means. It is essential that all patient records are kept confidential manner by providers and there is careful attention to "the quantity and quality of data and other information received. Findings, recommendations and telemedical services delivered must be documented with care, to ensure quality and consistency (Ethics, 2002, FMA, par. 14). If a patient receives telemedical treatment it must be recorded in the patient's file, so that later caretakers know to take former and current drugs into consideration when providing treatment. It is hoped that widespread electronic record-keeping will better ensure that consistent and comprehensive records are kept for all patients, regardless of how they are treated. However, electronic record-keeping itself raises some security concerns.

What are some ways that patient information can be used for fraud and abuse?

Any accounts on a computer can be 'hacked.' Also, simply through the process of telemedicine itself, there can be difficulties performing a procedure due to a technological failure or incorrect data transmitted electronically. "Patients relying upon intravenously delivered medicine, remotely controlled via the Net, could have their lives threatened by a cyber attacker who altered their medicinal flow rate" (Dark side, 1999, Science Daily, par. 3-4). Even proper, routine care, can be used against a patient, if an employer, insurance company, or other organization is given private, information that suggests the patient may be at high medical risk or simply has an expensive chronic illness.

Patient information submitted for false reimbursement?

Submitting patient information that is tampered with… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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