Telemedicine and the right to health: A neurosurgical perspective
Neurosurgical task force is limited and unevenly distributed. Telemedicine has become increasingly popular, and could help neurosurgical centers meet patient right to care. This scoping review aims to evaluate the impact and feasibility of telemedicine on the right to neurosurgical care, using the AAAQ toolbox. The AAAQ toolbox consists of Availability, Accessibility, Acceptability and Quality. Neurosurgical availability is limited by the number of neurosurgeons, but by using task shifting and -sharing via telemedicine, the number of patients receiving neurosurgical care could increase without increasing the number of neurosurgeons. Telemedicine can improve geographic accessibility to neurosurgical care, but may also introduce technological literacy barriers. Acceptability of telemedicine is a double-edged sword; while a useful service, telemedicine also creates ethical concerns regarding privacy and confidentiality. Regulations and adaptations for vulnerable patient groups are key considerations for deploying telemedicine. Finally, there is emerging evidence that the quality of remote neurosurgical diagnostics and care can keep high standards. Overall, telemedicine has the potential of taking neurosurgery one step closer to meeting patient right to health, globally.