Telemedicine, seen by the Spanish guru of Microsoft

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Julián Isla, Head of Data and Artificial Intelligence Consulting Resources at Microsoft Spain.

Julian Islandhead of Data and Artificial Intelligence Consulting Resources at Microsoft Spainhas dismantled in statements to Medical Writing the great health bet for the telemedicine. A service that has gained ground in the sector, especially as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, since there are many hospitals and health centers that are currently promoting and implementing this tool in their care. However, as this international computer expert has detailed, the application of telemedicine “does not really exist” because the information systems in the health sector “they are very hermetic, very old and very little given to extensibility with other applications”.

According to this professional, also a member of the Committee for Orphan Medicinal Products of the European Medicines Agency (EMA), “medical information needs to be structured so that things can be done with it.” In fact, he has pointed out in this regard that “the injection of external data into a health information system is not well prepared”, since does not have the correct interfaces for this to happen. A situation that has been exemplified with the familiar case of a diabetic, who has to write down the values ​​of the glucometer in a paper notebook. “How do we do telemedicine if my father-in-law has to write it down in a notebook, make a photocopy and take it to a health center?” She asked herself.

“No one has bothered to inject the information generated by this glucometer in the program that the doctor is going to consume,” he insisted. “With which, you have to do a manual process and that is the key to the problem,” she lamented. It is all this that he has defended that the telemedicine as such “does not really exist” and, in addition, he has transferred that “it is going to cost a lot for it to be so”.

“The big problem is that medical information systems they are very hermetic, very old and very little given to extensibility cwith other applications. That is the great problem that we face in modern medicine”, he explained. “Any change implies an external application and something impossible”, he has detailed.

Information is power

“The telemedicine stops working when medical information is also produced outside the healthcare center. There it is uncontrolled ”, he has insisted. Thus, he has recalled that there is currently a very high number of patients who are at home taking their blood pressure or doing other types of measurements, such as counting steps, hours of sleep or fluid intake. However, this information disappears because “we do not have data injection mechanisms in the information systems, not even analysis systems.”

However, he has recognized that this “is a difficult issue to resolve due to the situation of the National Health System (SNS), with the decentralization of information powers” and, in this case, “the Ministry of Health is impossible that it be the solution because it does not have the competence to do so”. “I think that politically a decision would have to be made to generate a standard in which people can interoperate and communicate data. Probably, first it is mandatory for health systems to intercommunicate and, later, the same thing can happen between other autonomous communities. “That or, directly, undo everything and forget about an architecture of this type and think that it is impossible to centralize the data in the patient”, has settled.

On the other hand, he has confessed that “Getting rid of data is not easy”. An affirmation that has been supported by referring to an investigation that concludes that 90 percent of the research projects that are carried out in Medicine do not publish the data. “The patient is only interested in sharing his data and, since he does not have it, we are annoyed,” he complained.

For all these reasons, he declared that in order to achieve ‘true telemedicine’, “a great cultural change is required that implies moving many chairs”. “Because where there is information, there is power”has assured.

Although it may contain statements, data or notes from health institutions or professionals, the information contained in Medical Writing is edited and prepared by journalists. We recommend the reader that any questions related to health be consulted with a health professional.

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