Doctor at Your Fingertips: An Exploration of Digital Visits from Stakeholders' Perspectives

Life (Basel). 2020 Dec 24;11(1):6. doi: 10.3390/life11010006.


Technological advances and the evolution of mobile technologies enable patients to meet their doctors through their smartphones. While offering the opportunity of digital visits to patients, there are also challenges for this development. The purpose of this study is to enhance the understanding of digital visits, as perceived by experts working in telemedicine companies. To serve this purpose, the authors conducted semi-structured interviews with managers and employees in eight telemedicine companies. The analysis of the empirical data confirmed the importance of digital visits and their efficiency. The potential of digital visits is expected to increase significantly, should they make use of remote devices to transfer real-time data from patients to physicians. In such a case, digital visits are expected to cover approximately 70-75% of medical cases. However, the use of remote devices must be taken with caution and specific conditions need to be taken into account. We encourage researchers to perform research on promising technologies such as artificial intelligence and remote diagnostic devices, which could make more diagnoses and conditions possible to be treated by digital visits. This is even more important in light of the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.

Keywords: digital visits; remote real-time devices; remote visits; telemedicine; telemedicine applications.