Lege Artis Medicinae

[The impact of telemedicine on the development of doctor-patient relationship based on interviews conducted among physicians]

BÁN Attila

MAY 20, 2017

Lege Artis Medicinae - 2017;27(04-05)

[Introduction - The doctor-patient relationship has always been an essential part of health care, however, in parallel with the integration infocommunication technologies in health care the doctor-patient communication is also transforming. Therefore, the aim of the study is to examine the effect of telemedicine on this relationship. Methods - During the study, we applied qualitative research methods and a total number of 58 semi-structured interviews (45 men, 13 women) were conducted among physicians having experience in telemedicine. The majority of the interviewees were radiologist, general practitioners, and internists. The interview questions concerned that what characterises the doctor-patient relationship in telemedicine. Results - The interviews pointed out that in teleradiology the doctor-patient relationship depersonalises and almost terminates. In this respect, the problem is often the incomplete clinical information about the patient. In turn, telemonitoring can bring a quality change in the doctor-patient communication and through remote contact the patients’ satisfaction, the sense of security, and the doctor-patient relationship will be further enhanced. Conclusions - In accordance with the academic literature - based on the research results - there is no clear evidence that telemedicine would affect doctor-patient communication only positively or only negatively. In some areas of telemedicine, this relationship is reducing (e.g. teleradiology) while in other areas it could be fur-ther strengthened (e.g. telemonitoring).]

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