Ethics Talk: The Promise of Telemedicine


Over the past several years Health Information Technology, or Health IT, has been one of the fastest growing segments in the health care marketplace. While much of this growth has focused in health informatics, particularly the widespread adoption of electronic health records, telemedicine has also become an increasingly important means for improving the quality of clinical care. According to the American Telemedicine Association, "Telemedicine is the use of medical information exchanged from one site to another via electronic communications to improve patients' health status." The promise of telemedicine is that it will improve the delivery and efficiency of healthcare services. This month Virtual Mentor spoke with Dr. Emeka Okafor, Assistant Professor of Emergency Medicine at the University of Texas Medical School at Houston, about the benefits of, and barriers to, telemedicine, and what can be done to help regulate this growing industry.