Published online by Cambridge University Press: 17 May 2022
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.