22 November 2019
In the age of digitization, a growing percentage of services are becoming available online, and this trend is affecting healthcare too. As evolving technology creates more avenues for physicians to deliver affordable and instant care to their patients, there has been a sharp increase in the number of telemedicine implementations across the world. 1 As in other disciplines, guidelines and regulations on telemedicine lag behind the use of the technology and are still being crafted and modified. For example, the new nationwide policy on telemedicine of the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) of the US Government became effective in mid-2018 and incorporates the opinion and recommendations made 7 years earlier. In recent years, the VA spent over $1 billion a year on transportation of veterans to and from hospitals; now with telemedicine, this amount can be used increasingly for other purposes. This cost-saving experience at the national scale should alert industry actors, national governments, and consumers of the growing urgency to address the policy and regulatory aspects of telemedicine to provide healthcare services with greater speed, quality, and safety to rapidly increasing percentages of citizens of their respective countries.