First MA thesis on telemedicine

Posted on 2020-07-21

On July 10, 2020, at the Faculty of Economics of the University of Gdańsk there was a master's exam related to the first master's thesis on the dynamically developing area of telemedicine.


Ms Dominika Sosnowska, a student of International Economic Relations, specializing in foreign trade, prepared under the supervision of dr hab. Sylwia Pangsy-Kania, professor at the University of Gdańsk, MA thesis entitled "The impact of telemedicine innovation on the company's competitiveness on the example of Comarch".


How did you come up with the idea to address this topic?

Dominika Sosnowska, MA: Both in Poland and throughout Europe, there is a growing demand for innovative solutions in the field of health care, including telemedicine, which ensure the improvement of the quality of the treatment process while increasing the system's efficiency. This is mainly due to the aging of the population and the decline in the availability of medical personnel. Telemedicine as a widely understood remote healthcare process has enormous development potential, both on a global and national scale.

Despite the constantly growing popularity of telemedicine, its concept is still alien to a large part of our society. An important factor conditioning the development of telemedicine in Poland is the existence of its concept in public awareness and understanding of its role in the process of treating patients by medical professionals. For this reason, I decided that the research in my master's thesis would focus on innovations in the field of telemedicine and their impact on the level of competitiveness of enterprises based on the data provided by Comarch Healthcare.

"The aim of the work was to examine the impact of innovations in the field of telemedicine on the level of competitiveness of the company and to verify the attractiveness of the telemedicine sector in Poland. The research method used in the work was a case study based on Comarch Healthcare S.A. and analysis of Porter's five forces.

The paper analyzes a practical example of the implementation and maintenance of the telecare system in the Municipal Family Support Center in Słupsk and the Małopolska Tele-Angel program implemented under the Regional Operational Program of the Małopolska Voivodeship for 2014-2020 and co-financed by the European Social Fund. In the case of implementing the telecare system under the project "Małopolski Tele-Angel", a telecare center was created in Sucha Beskidzka, employing not only qualified telecare assistants, but also psychologists, thanks to which new jobs were created in the region. Using the analysis of Porter's five forces, the attractiveness of the telemedicine sector was verified in the context of producers of selected telemedicine products and its structure was described. "


What exactly is telemedicine?

Dominika Sosnowska, MA: Today, telemedicine is used, among others, to conduct remote medical consultations, in preventive medicine, in the treatment of chronically ill people, in the diagnosis and monitoring of the health of patients, starting from school adolescents (screening tests), by women expecting a child (remote CTG examination ), for the elderly requiring comprehensive round-the-clock supervision (cardiological monitoring, fall detection, calling for help in case of malaise). Based on the analysis of Comarch Healthcare's operations, it was possible to conclude how important an extensive ecosystem of health solutions based on cloud solutions is.

The integration of such solutions ensures coordinated healthcare and supports patients, carers and medical staff, which is why it is a perfect example for research on the impact of implementing telemedicine innovations. There are many benefits of using the remote healthcare system not only for the patient, but also for every entity that decides to implement it. I am convinced of these benefits, which is why I analyzed one of the effects of implementing a remote medical care system, which is the increase in the level of competitiveness.

In Poland, we are currently at the stage of intensive development in the field of implementing telemedicine technologies, we are consistently catching up with international standards. Thanks to the combination of experience in the field of telecommunications, IT and medicine, technologies are created that enable the provision of medical services and healthcare regardless of geographical barriers. The increasing openness of both patients and doctors to new technologies is a trend that is growing globally.

On the basis of the conducted research, it could be concluded that the implementation of innovations in the field of telemedicine was a significant source of competitive advantage of the company, and even the region, positively influencing the image of the entity deciding to implement. It can be expected that the role of telemedicine will continue to grow and the areas of its application will expand.

It can be expected that the role of telemedicine will continue to grow and the areas of its application will expand. Raising awareness of health care participants will strengthen the position of telemedicine as one of the basic system solutions in the Polish health care system. The development of telemedicine in Poland will have an evolutionary character through the gradual expansion of the infrastructure enabling the provision of telemedicine services. One of the possibilities of obtaining funds are EU funds, as telemedicine is one of the priorities related to the building of society in the European Union.


The genesis of telemedicine ... and NASA

“It is usually difficult to trace the development of major innovations to a single source, especially when such innovations are based on complex technology. The genesis of telemedicine is no exception. It represents the impact of two parallel solutions in information technology.


In terms of accelerated technology, the first application was developed in a program managed by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) to develop advanced technologies for biomedical telemetry, remote sensing and space communication.


The second application is derived from the telecommunications industry in the private sector, which has subsequently been greatly expanded with the development of computer technology. In the first case, in the early stages of the manned space program, NASA scientists were concerned about the physiological effects of gravity on astronauts. Basic functions including heart rate, blood pressure, respiratory rate, and temperature were monitored continuously during intensive observation. These early systems provided discreet monitoring of the vital functions of astronauts in flight in a short amount of time. Longer flight times and orbital station plans have led to the development of telemedicine capabilities for diagnosing and treating medical emergencies, establishing health systems and biomedical experiments. One example of by-products of this era was the portable heart monitoring and resuscitation package, now widely used by paramedical emergency teams. " (Source: R. L. Bashshur, On the definition and evaluation of telemedicine. Telemed. J. 1 (1), 1995, pp. 309 and 614).

It is worth noting that a new interdisciplinary field of study "Telemedicine and projects in health care" (extramural second-cycle studies) has been established at the University of Gdańsk by the Faculty of Law and Administration and the Faculty of Economics.