Telemedicine — that is, teleconferencing with a physician over one’s smartphone — worries many critics because it assumes patients can be evaluated without a physical exam. The delivery of health care services using communications technology however can be a critical tool for making more people healthier. A concerted push to seize the untapped potential of telemedicine could help us tackle today’s health challenges. Telemedicine also can empower patients directly. People with diabetes can now use digital tools to monitor blood-glucose levels. Simple smartphone apps can serve as behavioral coaches, which can have a huge impact. The most crucial step in seizing the opportunities of digital medicine is making sure that every community has high-speed Internet access. Those who stand to benefit most from telemedicine disproportionately find themselves on the wrong side of the digital divide.Recent advances in communications technology could enable millions of people to live healthier, longer lives.
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