HFS105: The use of telemedicine has been on the rise

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The use of telemedicine has been on the rise in Singapore. This is especially so during the Covid-19 pandemic, as it facilitates social distancing as well as reduces the risk and exposure to infections at the clinics.

Quah (2020) differentiates between four aspects of telemedicine: telecollaboration, tile treatment, telemonitoring, and the-support. Tele collaboration occurs between two or more healthcare professionals who are not co-located. In treatment, healthcare professionals provide direct clinical care to patients. Tele-monitoring is the collection of patient data via
remote systems vital signs monitoring and home nursing. Finally, the support is the use of online services to support the educational and administrative needs of the patient.

For this TMA, you’ll examine the benefits or costs of telemedicine to the healthcare professionals’ and patients’ information processing. Specially, you’ll answer the following four questions.

Question 1

Define any ONE (1) human information processing theory studied in class or from the course material (e.g. availability of ready examples heuristic in decision making) that is relevant to healthcare professionals’ and patients’ information processing in telemedicine.

Question 2

Describe the theory stated in Question 1 and explain using the relevant example(s). A suggested solution is as follows:

Decisions are sometimes made when the person does not know all the parameters of the decisions. For example, a healthcare provider may decide to prescribe a particular drug without knowing the underlying cause of the symptoms. Here, the decision to prescribe the drug may be based on the estimate of the probability of the drug successfully resolving the illnesses’ symptoms.

The availability heuristic suggests that people estimate the probability of an event by the ease with which relevant examples of the event are recalled (Reed, 2012). For example, suppose that a very prominent person such as a President or a famous actor says multiple times that a particular drug is a very effective cure for an illness. People are then likely to have ready examples of him touting its effectiveness and may evaluate the probability of the drug being a successful cure to be higher.

In other words, estimates of the probability of an event should be accurate when the availability of the examples is highly correlated with the actual frequency of the event occurring. However, if there is a mismatch between example availability and actual frequency, then the estimates will likely be incorrect and therefore decisions based on these estimates will be skewed.

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