I have been on the fence for “telemedicine”- not because it is “useless” but the way it has been deployed or utilised. Surprisingly a free article from NEJM, I am reproducing the central tenet here.
A central strategy for health care surge control is “forward triage” — the sorting of patients before they arrive in the emergency department (ED). Direct-to-consumer (or on-demand) telemedicine, a 21st-century approach to forward triage that allows patients to be efficiently screened, is both patient-centered and conducive to self-quarantine, and it protects patients, clinicians, and the community from exposure. It can allow physicians and patients to communicate 24/7, using smartphones or webcam-enabled computers.
These are “best-case scenarios”. One assumes that users won’t be awash with anxiety and would want to see a human physician. Meanwhile, governments across the world are expending scarce resources by trying to spend money on developing applications. They really don’t understand mobile health (or refuse to engage mobile health experts).