Was considered to be one of the best in the developed countries. Something happend that changed the situation and the new medicine in Israel has an access – to whom ? A quality to whom ? basic human right ? To whom ?
In order to get a better undestanding what is Tele-Medicine in Israel we have to get familiar with the medical and health system in Israel. There are two critical dates relevant to our discussion: a) before 1995, b) after 1995
1. At the first period the intervention of the government in health care was rather minimal as most of the citizens in Israel were members of sick funds. Only to mention the first one which was established by the workers as early as 1911, The General Federation of Labor. Every member use to pay a certain percentage according to his income directly to the sick fund. This sick fund was not only the biggest but has the largest number of old population, a fact which will influence its all finance position. Since then another 3 new sick funds were established
2. The second period after 1995. The period of crisis. Five years earlier the Ministry of Health establishes a special committee headed by judge Netanyahu – no relation to Benjamin Netanyahu. The roll of this committee was to check thoroughly the performance of the health services in Israel and to submit its conclusions and recommendations to the Ministry of Health. After almost five years the committee has submitted the recommendations. Without going into details, I would say that the intentions were good, but the results were bad. The intentions were nationalization of the health care yet the consequences were more and more privatization. The committee recommended that the linkage between the members and the sick fund will go on but the budget will come directly from the national budget. Exactly at this point the crisis has started. Soon enough there was a deficit of more than 10%. The results were less beds in hospitals, the price of drugs went up and up, visiting a MD cost more and more and 3600 attacks on medical personal happened through 2014 almost 10 cases a day. At the same time the age of the Medical staff went higher and higher. This crisis forced a new and original solutions we had to think out of the box. The technology was here, the possibilities are here, soon came the ideas and part of the solution.
Israel consider to be one of the pioneers when it comes to Tele-Medicine. Already in the year 1987 the first and the largest company was established for supplying remote control EKG tests through a very sophisticated equipment, emergency button and a special telephone. The patient put the device on himself and it is sending the data to the center on the other end, where is a staff of nurses and paramedics. If the results show abnormality a MD is picking the phone and deals with the situation. If necessary , they evaquate the patient to hospital by an ambulance with no extra charge.
The whole idea of Tele-Medicine is changing places instead of going to the clinic. The clinic comes to him. It reduces mobility problems, saves a lot of money, a lot of time, the treatment comes instantly and most important, it gives the patient the feeling of security that someone is there for him 24 hours a day.
Tele-Medicine is a general name given to to various aspects of health and medical services, so far we have mentioned only one.
A very important aspect is the Remote rehabilitation service. Thousands of patients suffering from stroke or injuries are being treated by remote games service. This enable them to sit in their homes in front of a computer and playing games through which they practice solving problems by playing games which has to be resolved. Each game is adjusted ahead of time by a professional team and each game shows the patient his own pace of progress, the clinical results are amazing according to the patients themselves. All of it is done with the assistance of the artificial intelligence.
Don´t leave me alone – the idea was to give the patient the feeling that he is not alone, not forgotten. As the result of it, a special site was established on the net by the name „camonee“ which means „people like me“, those suffering from the same illness.
Center of integration and coordination for acute chronical illness is operating regularly. This center includes paramedics, nurses, medial doctors and other specialists. It treats diseases like diabetes, lung diseases, heart diseases and more. The patient stays in the center for few months, he is being treated until the acute phase is over. The medical reports as well as the economical are very good.
Consulting – at these days we are checking the possiblity of giving patients a remote consulting by experts in various aspects like skin diseases, psychiatric and other chroncial diseases. The future is already here and we have just touched the many possibilities of the Tele-Medicine.
I would like to thank prof M.Shani , the head of Gerner Institute for Epidemiology and Health policy research for his assistance. With his knoweldge and experience and kindness, he gave me new insights and better understanding. Many thanks to Taub Institute for research, to Adva Institute for their assistance and to Mr.David Rot for his comprehensive article about Tele-Medicine.
Raziel Zwang – Israel