the right to health is a complete state of physical, mental and social well-being, and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.
Trustworthy information your way as I continue this week’s topic of business and tech. Technology is inevitable, and when used correctly it brings a better future. Today’s post will highlight the importance of technology in the health sector.
The medical world is fast changing and there are services like telehealth and telemedicine. Telemedicine is the exchange of medical information from one site to another through electronic communications. This is done for the purpose of improving a person’s health. On the other hand, telehealth refers broadly to electronic and communication technologies and services used to provide care and amenities at-a-distance, which could also be non-clinical services too. These allow long-distance patient and clinician contact, care, advice, reminders, education, intervention, monitoring, and remote admissions.
Telemedicine has been around for over 40 years and unfortunately Covid-19 has made some of us aware of alternative ways to seek medical care. This concept has been instrumental in developing countries allowing rural patients to be virtually referred to specialists who are in major centres. I believe this is a step in the right direction to help balance out inequalities between rural and urban access to healthcare. Telehealth is also protecting patients and healthcare providers from exposure to COVID-19 whilst providing routine check-ups on patients with chronic conditions such as TB, HIV and AIDS, and diabetes.
Much like anything in this world, this evolving innovation comes with disadvantages: it is expensive to set up and maintain. It becomes costly because it relies on the availability of basic infrastructure such as steady electrical power, cellular network coverage and broadband internet service. It all goes back to technology being made a priority to provide the most basic human rights to the people. In addition, not all illnesses and diseases can be diagnosed via an online platform, you prefer a more personal or face-to-face relationship, this is not the ideal option for you.
Telemedicine is the future of medicine, and Africa is no exception. But to step into this future we must address the necessary human, infrastructural, delivery, design and policy challenges required.