Start note: I am writing this in English, because I am about to discuss a topic that I discussed in the past two days on an international conference... Maybe some international fellow-attendees would like to comment :-).
No Guts, No Glory! A slogan I like, use frequently, and try to live by, in many situations anyway...
Unfortunately, the Healthcare sector seems to live by a whole other slogan: "No Proof, No Nothing!". That's my conclusion after attending the International Congress on Telehealth and Telecare in London this week. It was a great conference, organized and attended by great people, and filled with great talks, discussions, and presentations. For a pragmatic person like myself the content was somewhat too academic at times, but, having two academic degrees of my own, I was quite able to handle it :-).
Let me summarize what I heard:
Telehealth and Telecare (a) significantly improve the quality of life for pretty much any patient in any conceivable situation in which they are applied, (b) provide equal or higher quality of care, and (c) significantly reduce the cost of care, all at the same time.
As one of the Keynote speakers put it: "We call this a no-brainer!".
Let me summarize what I see:
Telehealth and Telecare are hardly being applied in the current practice of Healthcare. Nobody has the Guts to take the lead or initiative, so nobody gets any Glory. All the while, all these academic studies get funded, only to provide (more) proof on something we already know, on something "we call a no-brainer". We know one plus one equals two, we know water is wet, and we know that Telehealth and Telecare work. Many thanks to the academic studies!
My suggestion? Stop funding any further academic research aimed at finding positive proof for positive results of Telehealth and Telecare. Instead, apply those funds to improving the quality of life (of more) of our patients, improving the quality of care, and saving some money!
No Guts, No Glory! Just Do It! Let's Go!
End note: I work for a company that provides elderly care in the Netherlands and work on improving the quality of life of our patients every day (well, I try my best anyway...;-)). We are on the verge of putting some of our own experiments with Telecare into wider practice. It is hard hard hard for many reasons, but I'm sure we'll get there, one step at a time...