Telehealth: Medicare in the Twenty First Century and Beyond

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Introduction
Information communication technology is a tool that covers almost every aspect of modern day life and it is no wonder that the benefits derived are now ever present in the medical sector. Numerous contributions continue to be made on the subject as the use of communications technology gains a stronger foothold in the field of medicine. The spotlight focuses on issues with regard to its use by physicians and nurses alike and how it is has a significant impact on their respective professions as well as the patients.

The digital age is providing opportunities that focus on early prevention as opposed to curative medical practice. There is also the advantage of accessibility where patients are able to seek medical attention from any part of the world and physicians together with nurses can provide medical attention efficiently. At the same time reservations persist about the benefits of technology in the medical field such as confidentiality, reliability, security and the patients’ ability to use the equipment as per requirements. Demand for nurses is on the rise and it is one of the ten fastest growing occupations in the United States. (Bureau of Labour Statistics, 2001) and with an ever increasing ageing population, every one of five people will be 65 years or older by the year 2030. (Federal Interagency Forum on Aging and Related Statistics 2000). This translates to the need for more nurses and physicians in the future.

Digital Healthcare
In the modern world digital healthcare is coming into its own. Cutting edge technology and communications are the key tools in service delivery, prevention and management of health conditions. This is being facilitated through video conferencing, the Internet, store-and-forward imaging, remote monitoring, streaming media, terrestrial and wireless communications and robotics. (Stokowski, Healthcare Anywhere:The Pledge of Telehealth, 2008)....
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