Telemedicine: Current Status inDeveloped and Developing Countries

April 2009 | Volume 8 | Issue 4 | Original Article | 371 | Copyright © April 2009

Babar Rao MD and Adriana Lombardi MS II

Abstract

Background: Many developed countries, including the United States, have made it a priority to incorporate telemedicine into their healthcare systems. Worldwide, this concept has been adopted by countries in effort to provide better healthcare for those in rural areas where hospitals may be at a distance and specialists may be even farther. Previous studies and reports have shown that the use of telemedicine, especially tele-dermatology, has proven to be an inexpensive method for providing care to those whose countries face financial, social, and environmental barriers to adequate healthcare.
Objective: To assess the current status of, and address the potential for, improving healthcare by using telemedicine with emphasis on tele-dermatology in developed and developing countries.
Methods: Current literature on telemedicine/tele-dermatology was reviewed and its efficiency critiqued in an attempt to improve dermatological care in developing areas.
Conclusion: The U.S., while significantly incorporating telemedicine on a national basis, faces various issues from state to state regarding reimbursement and other legality concerns. Although current efforts using telemedicine have demonstrated positive effects in countries in need, they have not substantially reduced or compensated for a fundamental lack of healthcare. Countries with inadequate healthcare must incorporate telemedicine into their healthcare system through volunteer efforts of doctors in countries worldwide.