What exactly is (and is NOT) telemedicine?

What exactly is (and is NOT) telemedicine?

Obvious, right? Maybe, but thinking clearly about what telemedicine is and what we want it to accomplish is critical in the midst of the unprecedented interest in virtual care brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic.

WIRED recently sat down with Dr. Caesar Djavaherian, co-founder of Carbon Health and a leading advocate for telemedicine. In Dr. Djavaherian’s view, it’s useful to start from first principles: the basic interaction between patient and provider. So much of this interaction can be done virtually with the associated benefits accruing to both sides.

At the same time, however, Dr. Djavaherian warns that we shouldn’t try to fit every patient into the telemedicine box indiscriminately. The bar that needs to be passed is whether a virtual interaction will be as effective as an in-person visit. Luckily, that bar is easily met on a broad range of clinical scenarios and the list is only growing as more and more connected technologies, such as home stethoscopes and blood pressure cuffs become more widely available.

In terms of future predictions, Dr. Djavaherian sees the vital role telemedicine is playing in the pandemic as a powerful argument for parity in insurance coverage and undoing some of the burdensome regulations preventing providers from practicing across state lines.

It’s a fascinating discussion. Check out the full interview here: