Assessment of Approaches to Evaluating Telemedicine. 3. Safety


Safety is a judgment of the acceptability of the health risk (e.g., due to complications or adverse effects) associated with using a technology. Experience to date indicates that telemedicine is associated with little or no adverse health risk. Respondents made very little mention of safety. As Bashshur argues, "[t]he issue of safety should be put to rest. It should be clear that information technology, as now incorporated into clinical practice, does not present significant health hazards or risks to the patient or the provider any more than conventional patient assessment and treatment techniques" (Bashshur 1998). When addressed, safety was defined more as a function of clinician judgment (in deciding whether to use the telemedicine technology for a particular case) than with the technology itself.

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