E-Health and Telemedicine: An Accelerative Revolution

(Credit: Unsplash)

This article was exclusively written for The European Sting by Mr. Ahmed M Lahmady, a third year medical student at Hadhramout University College of Medicine (HUCOM), Yemen. He is affiliated with the International Federation of Medical Students Associations (IFMSA), cordial partner of The Sting. The opinions expressed in this piece belong strictly to the writer and do not necessarily reflect IFMSA’s view on the topic, nor The European Sting’s one.


       E-Health signifies the relatively recent healthcare practice supported by electronic processes and communication. It encompasses a range of services or systems; telemedicine is one of them.

Telemedicine is a term coined in the 1970s, which literally means “healing at a distance”. In a sort of limited sense, it indicates remote clinical services, such as diagnosis and monitoring. However, according to the World Health Organization (WHO), it can be broader to include preventative, promotive, and curative care delivery.

The advantages of telemedicine together with the advent of high-speed internet and increased access to portable devices, like laptops and mobile phones created a greater opportunity for the adoption of telemedical services.

Telemedicine has made it much easier and more comfortable to access medical care, the thing that saves much time and effort. It is also beneficial in respect of financial costs as there are indications of consuming fewer resources and requiring fewer operating people.

It has contributed in increasing the coverage of health care to distant, rural, small or sparsely populated regions in which care can be received from doctors or specialists far away without the patient having to travel to visit them, the thing that can be the only means of reaching health care in many developing countries.

In light of COVID-19 pandemic, telemedicine has played a significant role and has become a vital means for medical communication. It also helped in decreasing physical contact and preserving the social distancing which is important to lessen the possibilities of getting infected.

Despite the opportunities and advantages of e-health and telemedicine, yet there are some obstacles and limitations. Conservative culture can be a barrier, since patients may have doubts or feel uncomfortable to be diagnosed virtually instead of the traditional face-to-face medical care. Another aspect is the physicians who lack the desire, or unwillingness to adapt to clinical paradigms for telemedicine applications.

Another two factors blocking the use of e-health and telemedicine tools from widespread utilization. First is the concern about privacy and confidentiality regarding patients’ records. Especially with the usual involvement of not merely the medical care providers, but also the technology providers. Second is the poor communication infrastructure and internet access, especially in developing countries.

Medical care credibility, quality, and whether or not this care will be “good” is another issue. it is dubious as to whether a practitioner can fully leave the “hands-on” experience behind. Although it is predicted that many consultations and interactions can be replaced, it cannot yet fully replace the physical examination, a thing with importance particularly in diagnosticsrehabilitation, or mental health.

According to the WHO’s report on the second global survey on

e-health, legal considerations are a major obstacle to telemedicine uptake. These include an absence of an international legal framework to allow health professionals to deliver services in different jurisdictions and countries.

In today’s world needs and accelerative technology advancements, it’s indicated that such virtual services will occupy a significant place in medicine and health care.

About the author

His name is Ahmed M Lahmady. A third year medical student at Hadhramout University College of Medicine (HUCOM). He is affiliated to NAMS-Yemen as the General Assistant of the Standing Committee on Public Health (SCOPH). He is interested in volunteering and social work. He is committed to participating in raising health awareness and creating a healthier community.

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