I unlock my mobile to find my app of medical services. I open it and, in a few seconds, I have the doctor on the screen. After some questions, I receive my diagnosis. I remain calm because, as I thought, it was nothing serious. Good thing I did not waste my time in the clinic. Although it may seem like the typical example of telemedicine, it is really convenient to look for another name. "People understand by telemedicine to contact a doctor and get a diagnosis. This is a teleconsultation and marks the deontologically reprehensible. It can be a resource, but it will never replace the professional, "says Dr. Miguel Ángel Sánchez, president of the Medical Association of Madrid.
In a matter as delicate as health, Not all digital tools can be used right away. Sanchez does not doubt that this transformation entails many improvements, but that there are certain obstacles to overcome to adapt with all the guarantees. With nearly one and a half million professionals working in the sector, it is sometimes difficult to incorporate new technical advances. "Adapting the technology and converting it optimally according to our needs is something that takes time. When we overcome this, interacting with citizens will be easier, "he stresses.
The president of the Medical College of Madrid defends at all times the need to explore patients, without a smartphone in the middle. It is very different when it comes to monitoring or we talk about chronic patients. Here, according to his own words, is where real telemedicine makes sense. As explained, based on specific, measurable and quantifiable objective data, provided by the internet of things, for example, you can check the evolution in the phone or an application. "I have a medical history done before. I know the patient before using telemedicine, "he adds.
For a part of society, the so-called cybermedicine is far from how to resort to primary care, although, as concluded by the Mordor Intelligence consultancy, the e-Health will bill 200 million euros next year in Spain. As a result of this boom, the number of startups neither does it stop growing – they have invested some 3,000 million euros in 2018 according to a study by Axon Partners Group- and digitization has completely sneaked into the sector. But, does telemedicine intend to change my GP and other healthcare professionals?
The so-called ambulatory of the future
From this business by combining primary assistance and technological implementation, Forward emerged. Is startup American offers users what it calls the ambulatory of the future. Neither stethoscopes nor bracelets to take the tension. Everything in its headquarters is digital. They use from a body scanner to know the typical values of an analytical to another of veins to know what runs through our bloodstream. They affirm that everything is always controlled by their doctors, to whom they ask for an appointment if we wish, as well as the reliability of their technology. We manage everything through your app, where our medical history or vaccines are stored. "We identify your genetic risks, we understand your welfare goals and we offer you preventive plans for the future," they comment from Forward.
This service can clash with a health model such as Spanish, in which there is no need to pay to keep our health at bay. The waiting lists, the time of dedication and the delay in routine medical procedures are other variables that influence the rise of the so-called telemedicine. The 2018 users survey on digital health in Spain, prepared by Accenture, determines that 81% of the patients would resort to virtual attention for appointments outside the usual schedule. "If someone wants immediacy, it could be a useful tool. The patient seeks a personalized treatment. What is clear is that the digital transformation has radically changed the profession in the last 15 years, "says Sánchez.
Pillo, the robot that dispenses pills
Between wearables to measure the heartbeat, virtual reality that simulates operations and apps all types, Artificial intelligence did not want to lose its opportunity. Developed by Pillo Health, Pillo is a robot that dispenses the same medicine after recognizing our face that connects you on your screen by videoconference with a doctor. This hybrid between virtual assistant, also has voice assistance, and cybermedicine promises to become a permanent nursing service in our home. "You know perfectly when it's time for your dose, so you'll never forget to take your pills thanks to your smart notifications," they say from Pillo Health.
Debates on the margin about what is telemedicine and what is not, what is clear is that primary care lives its own revolution at the hand of technology. One of the challenges, as Sánchez points out, lies more in the management of all the clinical data than in getting in front of a screen to know if we have the flu. "Thanks to true telemedicine, we can educate chronic patients to improve their decision making. With diabetics we have a huge field of action, but we can also extend it to people with coagulation or breathing problems, "ditch. Everything seems compatible, though, no matter how much you open a app, my doctor will continue to consult the health center.