Telemedicine in the future

J Telemed Telecare. 2005;11(8):384-90. doi: 10.1177/1357633X0501100802.


Telemedicine can provide a compelling alternative to conventional acute, chronic and preventive care, and can improve clinical outcomes. In the industrialized world, it is likely that telemedicine will continue to move healthcare delivery from the hospital or clinic into the home. In the developing world or in regions with limited infrastructure, telemedicine will mainly be used in applications that link providers based at health centres, referral hospitals and tertiary centres. The future of telemedicine will depend on: (1) human factors, (2) economics and (3) technology. Behaviours related to technology affect change at the individual, organizational and societal level. Personnel shortages and decreasing third-party reimbursement are significant drivers of technology-enabled health care in the industrialized world, particularly in the areas of home care and self-care. We can safely assume that developments in mobile communications, sensor devices and nanotechnology will alter the way that health care is delivered in the future. The growth and integration of information and communication technologies into health-care delivery holds great potential for patients, providers and payers in health systems of the future. Perhaps the most difficult question to answer, however, is 'When will telemedicine become part of the standard of care?'

MeSH terms

  • Delivery of Health Care, Integrated / organization & administration
  • Delivery of Health Care, Integrated / trends*
  • Forecasting*
  • Humans
  • Telemedicine / organization & administration
  • Telemedicine / trends*