Back to Page Authors: Diana Sofia Araújo Coutinho

Keywords: telemedicine, ICT, patient, heath

Abstract: The purpose of our study is to analyze the role of ICT in health, in particular, the case of telemedicine. Increasingly, technology is a presence and becomes essential in medical practice and in the development of health care application. Telemedicine isn't a new concept but today the telemedicine field is changing faster than ever before. In fact, the field of telemedicine has changed drastically from its inception. The hospitals started telemedicine experiment with reach patients in remote locations but with the rapid changes in technology over the last few decades, telemedicine has transformed into a complex integrated service used in hospitals, homes, private physician offices, and other healthcare facilities. As technology advances at exponential levels, so does the widespread accessibility to basic telemedicine tools. Telemedicine is used in many different medical areas, throughout ambulatory and hospital settings. Also the impacting the rise of telemedicine today is the growing mobile health field. With the wide variety of mobile health apps and new mobile medical devices that are consumer-friendly, patients are starting to use technology to monitor and track their health. The benefits of telemedicine are very seducing. For example: more convenient, accessible care for patients; saves on healthcare costs; better quality patient care and extends access to consults from specialists, among others. In contrast, requires technical training and equipment; some telemedicine models may reduce care continuity and may reduce in person interactions with doctors, among others. We will start by analyzing the concept of telemedicine, its areas of action, the pros and cons and its impact on the medical field. So, it’s our intention to analyze the consequences of telemedicine in law, namely, to understand how the medical-patient relationship (rights and duties) and the protection of confidentiality and privacy in telemedicine are configured. The doctor-patient relationship represents a relation of confidentiality. Telemedicine can be characterized as the use of telecommunications for medical diagnosis and patient care, involving the exchange of information that sometimes is sensitive to the patient at a distance. Thus, we want to understand if the doctor-patient relationship and patients' rights are impaired in telemedicine. Finally, we will analyze the perspective of European Union law on telemedicine and Portuguese law. We intend with our work to contribute to a reflection on telemedicine, assessing whether it is a case of success or failure of ICT.