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8 - The Spread of Telemedicine in Daily Practice

Weighing Risks and Benefits

from Part I - Life Sciences and Human Rights

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  17 May 2022

Marcello Ienca
Affiliation:
College of Humanities, EPFL Lausanne
Oreste Pollicino
Affiliation:
Bocconi University Faculty of Law, Italy
Laura Liguori
Affiliation:
Portolano Cavallo
Elisa Stefanini
Affiliation:
Portolano Cavallo
Roberto Andorno
Affiliation:
University of Zurich Faculty of Law
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Summary

Telemedicine is the delivery of healthcare services by means of information and communication technologies. Although it was initially conceived as a means of overcoming geographical barriers and dealing with emergency situations, the spread of telemedicine in daily practice is reshaping the innermost features of medical practice and shifting organisational patterns in healthcare. Advocates of telemedicine argue that it will redesign healthcare accessibility, improving service quality and optimising costs. However, the use of telemedicine raises a number of ethical, legal and social issues, an overview of which is given in this chapter. The second section deals with the EU policy for the promotion of telemedicine, and reference is made to the provisions offered by the European Telehealth Code. In the third section, some of the major ethical concerns raised by telemedicine are discussed. In the fourth, room is given to the role of telemedicine within the management of the CoViD-19 health emergency. In the conclusions, it is argued that adequate policies and rules are required to ensure a consistent spread and a safe use of telemedicine in alternative to in-person healthcare.

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Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2022

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