Policy Documents

Convenient Care and Telemedicine

Devon M. Herrick –
November 1, 2007

Recent advances in information technology — the hardware and software systems used to record, store, process and transmit data — have created new opportunities for patients and doctors to interact in ways that were impractical only a few years ago. The use of information technology to diagnose, treat and monitor patients’ medical conditions remotely is called telemedicine. Since the late 1990s, the growth of the Internet, improvements in computer software and the advent of high-speed telecommunications networks have led to a rapid increase in telemedicine. Health care entrepreneurs are using these opportunities to make medical care more accessible and convenient to patients, to raise quality and to reduce costs.

This study examines how telemedicine and other information technology are contributing innovative solutions to some of the problems patients and health care providers encounter under the traditional model of health care delivery. It also examines some of the obstacles to progress and the public policy changes needed to remove them.