Telemedicine use in Japan still at a nascent stage

The uptake of telemedicine is still at infancy stage in Japan compared to other countries in Asia such as China and Singapore.Telemedicine had been prohibited for a long time and exceptions have been made only for those patients with chronic diseases and living on remote islands or in rural areas.Several barriers existed to the widespread adoption of telemedicine in the country. One of the biggest barriers was opposition from the Japan Medical Association (JMA). The argument from the association was that it is difficult for doctors to carry out patient assessments precisely and recommend essential tests without seeing them in person.Another barrier is that several health facilities do not accept credit card payment, which is needed for telemedicine. Further, older aged physicians are reluctant to embrace digital technologies.The underuse of healthcare information technology (IT) systems such as electronic health record (EHR) is also acting as a barrier for telemedicine. Most health rec...

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