Telemedicine in the news

Here’s an article reporting on how technologies can be used to connect patients and physicians over great distances (i.e., telemedicine). The article is in Today’s Globe and Mail, titled “Hi-tech checkups byte into travel“.

What I find interesting is how the technology is portrayed in an entirely positive light. It’s as if the technology can do no wrong. On the surface, I would have to agree that connecting patients with care providers is wonderful thing, especially if it’s done in a way that is more effective and convenient to patient and provider. In the examples provided, I don’t think anyone can really point out anything negative.

But, I must ask – is this a good thing? Marshal McLuhan and his “disciples” like Neil Postman warn us that technologies have many unintended consequences, empowering some things while disenfranchising others. Is it possible to have an application that is “win-win” for everyone? Is it really possible to have the sense of getting a hug from the computer screen (see my previous post on the “Story of eHealth“)? I wonder…

Now, don’t get me wrong. I think exploring new possibilities is a great thing. It’s just that in the eHealth domain, too often the focus and emphasis is on the technology rather than the soft/human issues.