After my initial enthusiasm in telemedicine (back about 13 years ago when I got really involved in telemedicine and was convinced with many others that it was “the next big thing”), the barriers and challenges still remain and mainstream rollout is not yet here. I now think that rather than a revolution, telemedicine will be a gradual evolution – of course aided by more evidence, more awareness, more acceptance among all potential users and stakeholders – and ultimately become commonplace in health care, social care, wellness and fitness applications as a supporting tool and an enabler. (That’s also where I see the role of organizations like the International Society for Telemedicine & eHealth (ISfTeH) and the Med-e-Tel event, i.e. bringing people with different professional backgrounds from around the world together to share experience and learn from each other, and gradually moving things forward, as well as avoiding duplication of efforts and resources, by creating partnerships and sustained collaboration.)
Other speakers at the Masterclass were Prof. Bojan Zalar from Slovenia who provided some information on developments they are making in assessing early dementia, through an answer and response test as well as measuring reaction times. This seemed like something that may well be integrated in devices like Doc@Home, Healthbuddy or others.
Dr. Mike Short of O2 talked about how we are ‘connected’ in everything we do nowadays and what that means in healthcare, now and in the future.
George MacGinnis of Connecting for Health focused on interoperability and the work being done by the Continua Alliance. Dr. Yannis Pappas of the eHealth Unit at Imperial College gave some insights of what can be learned from social sciences. And, after a few short breakout sessions and discussions, Prof. Denis Protti from the University of Victoria, Canada, talked about the public value of telehealth, current status of different telehealth technologies and applications, and provided some European and international perspectives.