Telemedicine and digital forms of communication are becoming increasingly important in health care. On the one hand, this can make work easier for doctors, but it can also improve the quality of medical care for patients. In rural areas, in particular, new forms of health care are proving to be a support for health care providers and patients, as faster and more efficient medical care can be guaranteed in structurally weak areas.
Telemedical is still in its infancy in Austria, but in an unexpected upturn due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The offers, which had been developed rather slowly in Austria, became suddenly widely used, as medical professionals need to provide health care largely by telephone or via digital means.
Against this background, it is important to determine which settings of the technology are required to ensure high-quality medical care. In the course of digitization in many areas of life, the question is not whether telemedical services will be expanded, but how they will be expanded and applied.
One of the largest providers of telemedicine care in Germany, Zavamed, published a “Telemedicine Report in Germany and the EU”. Among other factors, an index was calculated on the basis of available health data from 14 different European countries with the intention to depict their performance and progress in the context of the digitalization of the healthcare system. The so-called Digital Health Index derives from the average value of the created legal base (digital policy), the digital infrastructure (digital health readiness) and the use of the data collected from doctors and patients (Actual Use of Data).
Based on the calculation, Austria is in 8th place. Countries with higher raking than Austria, with a value between 57.5 per cent and 71.7 per cent are Sweden (4th place) and Estonia (1st place). Austria’s deficits currently relate to the insufficient implementation of the developed applications. Although the electronic health record has been established and e-prescriptions are currently also available, overall the exchange of health data is still not used enough. One of the reasons for the current developments is the fragmentation of the Austrian health system. In addition, many calls are still handled by telephone while certified companies providing secure online advice have so far been little used.
To read more about the report please refer to the original article at https://kommunal.at/arztaerztin-online