One of the main human rights is the privilege of access to healthcare.
While financial aspects have been widely discussed technological factors have been relatively neglected (such as online clinics). Disparities in healthcare are dependent on age gender race and geographic regions…. Study after study has shown that certain groups in society are underestimated for health issues with higher rates of morbidity for women, children and minorities. Awareness to providing accessible services cannot be overemphasized. Disparities cannot be solely overcome by expanding financial resources. Accessibility has to do with timely accessible clinical visits. Telemedicine has the potential to bridge the gap.
Timely initial care.
In medicine everything has its time scale. In emergencies situation every minute counts. Telemedicine can bring in the specialists earlier without them being physically in the facility. The main example for this impact was when telestroke increased treatment and improved outcome. When there is “no rush” to see the patient in the outpatient clinic there is a long delay between symptoms and treatment this has been seen especially in subspecialties in need such as pediatric neurology depending on the overburdened system. Treatment for developmental issues in children are delayed by months. While early intervention is crucial for communication disorders diagnosis usually takes more than a year to receive treatment. Children with ADHD are referred late to clinic and wait for months with growing frustration impeding even further on scholastic motivation. TeleNeurology clinics enables to add capacity in times of need.
Timely follow-up clinics.
Many times the medical system looks at “compliance” to treatment. There is a touch of a paternal attitude using this term. We assume that the patient has to comply to treatment recommended. However many patients have issues with a treatment and they stop taking the medication just because the clinic was not accessible. Scheduling an appointment for a problem such as adverse effects or ineffectiveness is not always a perceived as “worthwhile” and sometimes just reaching the doctor in challenging. there is a growing number of clinics providing alternative ways to connect with a physician via video/ e-mail. We need to check in what ways these modalities impact compliance.