Milla Olsson and Caroline Rosell
Nowadays the health care system in Sweden is faced with several challenges like shortage of space, physicians and long distances to specialized health care.
A possible solution for this being discussed at the lung cancer department of Karolinska University Hospital is the use of telemedicine. If implemented it would be part of the follow-up treatment. The objective of our research is to find out if this technology can help improve the health care.
In order to investigate the opportunity for a telemedicine solution, we collected qualitative data from multiple different sources. This included two doctors specialized in lung cancer, and a focus group with nurses from Radiumhemmet. We also conducted interviews with relevant individuals outside the hospital including Nirav Desai who is the Founder and CEO of Hands On Telehealth; furthermore, we visited the Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta based in Atlanta, Georgia where telemedicine is used on a daily basis.
Thanks to the carried out research, we have discovered that telemedicine could be used in certain scenarios and contribute towards a more frequent contact between the patient and the medical professionals. Thus, this new technique could help nurses execute lighter symptoms assessment remotely and reduce waiting times. We also discovered some inconveniences in a telemedicine solution designed for lung cancer patients. We personally do not think they are the best target group for such a solution since the patients are mostly the elderly with little computer experience. Also the disease is severe and requires physical examinations where the telemedicine existing today would not improve the care giving.
To all intents and purposes, telemedicine might not be the only and ultimate solution for the problems identified within healthcare for lung cancer patients at Radiumhemmet, but it can work well as a supplement.