Two dominant fields in modern life are increasingly displaying a strong synergy--information technologies (IT) and the provision of healthcare. This process is responsive to the new e-patient, who is increasingly equipped, enabled, empowered, and engaged. The incorporation of sophisticated IT in healthcare allows for a growing range of needed e-health applications, including telemedicine. Telemedicine encompasses both tele-care (e.g., tele-surgery, tele-psychiatry) and tele-monitoring (for patients with chronic diseases). The net result could be a more accessible, efficient, safe, and advanced health system.
In light of these technologic advances, we need a vigorous effort by regulators to facilitate dissemination of telemedicine by removing licensure and professional liability impediments. Regrettably, such an effort has not yet been forthcoming, although some components of the recent health reform legislation herald the long-anticipated change. (1)