Numerous scientific articles have demonstrated the efficacy of telemedicine, in its many user scenarios, whether linking professionals or professionals and patients, synchronously or asynchronously. Mobile apps on smartphones and iPads have significantly increased the potential. However, practical application generally remains small-scale, with a few exceptions around the world.
Quite often, the reasons for the low adoption rate are considered to be economic and organizational. How can telemedicine be financed? Where does one start to put these processes into place? What do physicians and patients think about it?
Mondial Assistance in France published a consumer survey of 1006 French adults in October, 2012. Key results are as follows:
--62 % think that a distance medical advice service can replace a consultation at a doctor's office
-- 28% have realized afterwards that the consultation they have just undergone was not necessary .
-- 79 % would like a 2nd medical opinion, in case of doubt regarding a diagnosis or a prescription
-- 58 % would like to have an immediate medical opinion whenever they need one
-- 60 % manage their own medical situation, when they do not have access to a physician, (39 % indicate that gaining access to a doctor is a problem)
This survey was undertaken by Mondial Assistance in relation to their introduction of new tele-health services in France. A French healthcare professional will be able to answer medical questions at a distance and orient the person, if needed, to an expert able to provide a 2nd opinion. Mondial Assistance, being a well-known brand in France, it will be interesting to see how this develops...Perhaps largescale telehealth will be in place sooner than we think...