Patient reluctance

As we know, the health crisis generated by COVID-19 forced health workers around the world to suddenly and suddenly adapt to the use of technological services and solutions, proving to be the necessary accelerator that has driven telemedicine in public health. Although it is a little difficult to observe the “good side” of the tragedy that was the recent global pandemic.

However, about 65 percent of Spaniards believe that digital health and in particular, telemedicine used in public health services, does not mean an improvement for public health. The fact that doctors conduct teleconsultations by telephone rather than in person is sometimes perceived as cold and even impersonal treatment between patients. This is clear from the study carried out for the Nursing Union (Satse) by IO Investigación.

On the other hand, the study highlights that more than half of the population, 52.2 percent, defends that the situation of the health system is the same or better after the pandemic, which leaves us 47.73 percent, which values that the general situation has worsened after the passage of the virus.

Broadly speaking, the Spaniards surveyed score with an average of 3.59 out of 10 the government health management after the pandemic and score with 5.37 out of 10 the health care they currently receive. The survey concludes that eight out of 10 citizens, 86.3 percent, believe that the commitments made by governments and political parties during the pandemic to improve our public health are not being fulfilled.

Video conferencing is considered a breakthrough in telemedicine. “A telephone conversation with a patient is not the same as seeing his face, seeing what the patient looks like,” says Juan José Rodríguez Sendín, president of the Central Commission of Deontology of the Collegiate Medical Organization. Although he points out that for the assistance to be more complete, equipment would also be needed to measure certain constants, make an electro or check oxygen saturation.


What problems does the user of public health observe?

Among the main problems of public health, waiting lists stand out with 70.5 percent, followed by the lack of health professionals (59.2 percent) and saturation and overcrowding in health centers (53.7 percent). In this regard, eight out of 10 citizens believe that there are not enough nurses and physiotherapists to ensure good health care and care.

82 % of Spaniards agree that public health does not have sufficient economic funding. In data, investment in public health in 2019 in Spain was 6.3% of GDP, while in Europe investment is higher, with Germany with 9.7 % of GDP; France 9.4 %; Sweden, 9.3% of GDP; Denmark, 8.5 %, Belgium 7.8% and Norway 8.7%.

Digital technologies can be practical and contribute to a diagnosis

As we have just seen, when it comes to more relevant aspects, user confidence decreases, although in reality it is still comparatively high to the rest of Europe: just under half of Spanish patients (47%) say they are comfortable using an AI-powered app to determine if they need a diagnosis or using digital technology and AI to get a diagnosis, treatment or participating in a clinical trial (47%)

With regard to specific technologies, Spaniards show particular confidence in the use of artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) in healthcare. Nearly two-thirds (64%) say they are comfortable with a physician who uses AI/ML for administrative purposes, and more than half (55%) with one who uses these technologies to aid in diagnosis or treatment decisions.

“We can say that we have all accepted this care model as another way of communicating and interacting with health professionals, highlighting its effectiveness and advantages, especially the improvement of productivity, optimization of resources, time savings and cost reduction,” Leticia Molina, a lawyer specializing in the health sector, told Gaceta Médica.

Main advantages of telemedicine.

  1.  It is not a new medical act, but it is another tool for the doctor, which used correctly, since it can improve the services provided.
  2. It favors teamwork, highlighting the ease of sharing health data through any network.
  3. It allows access of medicine to those areas that due to their conditions cannot easily access medical services with ease.
  4. It allows us to continue maintaining the relationship with our patients, whether the doctor moves temporarily or changes his place of residence.
  5. It greatly improves the standard of living of patients, for those patients who find it a great effort to travel to the place of consultation.
  6. It makes it possible to shorten waiting list periods, help to request appointments and facilitates communication between the patient and the doctor.


Main disadvantages of telemedicine.

  1. Lack of adaptation to ICTs, both in professionals and in the centers themselves.
  2. Cost that may entail its implementation in some things.
  3. Possible lack of trust between the parties involved, both in the way of performing, and in deciding when to go to it.
  4. Possible regulatory breaches, especially in the Data Protection Law and its implementing Regulations, the information being highly sensitive and protected due to its high degree of confidentiality.
  5. Limited access to ICTs in certain places of our territory.

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