Terminology: do we need another contribution?

Although I suspect most readers have now got used to the variability in definitions in our field, to the point where it has, thankfully, dropped from being the regular debating point it used to be on TTA (eg here, here and here), valiant souls occasionally pop up to continue seeking to impose uniformity. The most recent is this paper from the European Connected Health Alliance and Wragge & Co, which has an excellent justification for its publication:

In our legal opinion, a more important distinction with these definitions is whether the products and/or services involved are regulated by telecommunication and technology laws and/or health laws. To answer these legal issues comprehensively you need clear legal definitions which do not exist either in the UK or on a pan European (EU) basis.

…which seems a very good point that I suspect many of us had missed. (Perhaps more important for many readers, I guess standardisation would make it easier for recruiters to find the best people to invite for interview from LinkedIn, too, now that that database has become the recognised database for professionals in many fields).

It is certainly a good collation of views on many of the terms we often use. There is much good stuff in here too as comments on the digital health world; one example, echoing our own recent post mentioning the slowness of adoption of technology by clinicians compared with professionals in other sectors is:

Arguably “eHealth” and “mHealth” labels indicate how slow healthcare is in adapting to these new technologies and communication tools because in the financial services sector no one today talks about “eBanking” just banking. In financial services the enabling technology and communication tools have just become a part of the services provided. Healthcare needs to catch up.

However, anyone reading it carefully may get a trifle upset by the sloppiness of the drafting. Particularly as it is co-produced by a legal firm, it is disappointing to see for example a reference to “Dr Eric Topal”, and the phrase “In contrast to telecare services, telehealth services covers…” , or “annotations are mine” just before a table followed by “numbering above is ours” at the end of the same table.

There are certainly those too that will disagree with the statement:

The distinction between telehealth and telemedicine is that a telemedicine service is the provision of a regulated healthcare service (so where a doctor/patient relationship exists and is regulated by health laws in the applicable country) but where the health professional and patient are not in the same location.

On balance, I’d suggest it’s worth staying tuned though as they end with the statement:

Our next White Paper will outline in more detail these legal regulatory issues.

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Comments

  1. “Arguably “eHealth” and “mHealth” labels indicate how slow healthcare is in adapting to these new technologies and communication tools because in the financial services sector no one today talks about “eBanking” just banking. In financial services the enabling technology and communication tools have just become a part of the services provided”

    Really?? In finance they’re still only waking up to mMoney. Tim Green has a cracking news site focused on this opportunity that I’d thoroughly recommended for anyone interested:

    http://www.mobilemoneyrevolution.co.uk/

    The paper is correct in that no one is still talking about eBanking but mMoney is a rapidly growing sector with lots of new entrants that have already grown in scale way past many of their legacy and eBanking rivals. A good example of this would be mPesa (pesa is Swahili for money) and is already handling more transactions that Kenyan Banks (legacy rivals) and Paypal (ePayments rival).

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/M-Pesa

    Maybe Healthcare isn’t as far behind other industries as the legal professionals think but I would place more weight on the sentiment of business leaders like HIMSS President/CEO when I want to do a bit of crystal ball gazing about which terminology is going to win out:

    http://mhealthinsight.com/2013/12/04/mhealth-probably-the-biggest-growth-area-in-health-technology-right-now-stephen-lieber-himss/

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