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Telemedicine in Catalonia: a preliminary analysis of its implementation in SISCAT

Telemedicine in Catalonia: a preliminary analysis of its implementation in SISCAT

First impressions using data from the 2017 Map of Trends Report

Most telemedicine services are offered in industrialized countries, many of which focus on the diagnosis and clinical management of cases, encompassing a wide variety of services; Those that are encountered most frequently in a bibliographical review are teleradiology, telepathology, teledermatology, teleconsulting, telemonitoring, telesurgery and teleophthalmology. Recently, the American company Reaction data asked several experts and managers of health organizations what impact they expect from certain technologies in the field of digital health. The high level of expectations for telemedicine is partly due to its recent past.

The Trends Report, provides the TIC Salut Social Foundation with the data needed to allow us to evaluate the current state of this type of technology in Catalonia. The results of the survey carried out in the second half of 2017 show that the practice of telemedicine has remained steady in recent years: the use of telediagnosis and teleconsultation remains at around 70% (of SISCAT entities who declare they use the technology) while telemonitoring continues at around 20%; Likewise, chronic illnesses such as diabetes, heart or respiratory insufficiency and rehabilitation are the most common pathologies to use these technologies, according to the results of the survey. Dermatology and image diagnoses also offer a more proactive scenario for remote services.

The Foundation has focused on the specific field of telemonitoring, evaluating the state of this technology in SISCAT, thus reaching the following conclusions:

  • There is broad consensus as to the benefits of telemonitoring for improving the quality of care, the provision of integrated services, the realization of preventive medicine, the reduction of costs and the reduction of hospital visits.
  • Economic and organizational factors are seen as the greatest limiting factors with regard to the  adoption of telemonitoring processes; with ethical and legal issues and user acceptance seen as the least important
  • Chronic pathologies are identified as the area with the greatest potential for telemonitoring, followed by preventive care and mental health.
  • There is a need for facilities to promote the use of telemonitoring such as the creation of benefits, the standardization of solutions, the homologation of tools and the creation of a common framework of agreements with all the financing system centres, specifically related to such programs.

The results confirm that the initiatives demand a systemic framework that facilitates development. The increasing importance of information sharing tools such as HCE and the uptake of smart devices (wearables) will clearly further promote change.

For more information, please contact us at: mapatendencies@ticsalutsocial.cat

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