Hastings Center Report
The Moral Value of Telemedicine to the Physician-Patient Relationship
Abstract: Covid-19 heralded a natural experiment with telemedicine. My experience as a clinician was very positive, and learning how to use telemedicine has made me a better doctor. Telemedicine has flipped the medical service paradigm; families do not need to conform their busy lives to the medical office workflow. An appointment can be a virtual house call that takes less time for my patient’s family and allows me to learn even more about their home. While there are limitations of telemedicine, there are good ethical reasons for clinicians to support the broader use of telehealth, including equity, efficiency, effectiveness, and respecting preferences. Empirical health-services research that assesses satisfaction, quality, and health outcomes will be necessary to determine the impact of telehealth on a population level to ensure that is used in a way that promotes equity in care.