New technology has been proposed to bring great changes for our societies. In health care telemedicine was met with great enthusiasm and considered an enabler to overcome distance barriers. It is now clear that telemedicine does not spread like fire in dry grass. A more extensive use of telemedicine can imply advantages, and some countries have invested much in technology.
The present report shows organizational problems to be crucial for the future of telemedicine, and has two main points: identification of organizational problems and design of solutions to these problems.
For telemedicine we find many organizational consequences and many types of consequences, but it is not just so that implementing technology has organizational consequences. Organizational changes can be performed first and increased use of telemedicine will follow.
Measures of collaboration are important to make telemedicine distance collaboration work, and health care organizations should consider a number of such measures for implementation.
Reorganization of where to perform work can result in more telemedicine. A new concept for centralization and decentralization in regions (or large health enterprises) simplifies analysis of where to locate telemedicine. Research on general network organization is well known from the history of organization theory.
To work with telemedicine means having a virtual organization. Health care has something to learn from general network research and from research on virtual organizations for other sectors of society than health care. Internal organizational changes are very common when telemedicine is implemented.
Forecasting future development for telemedicine is difficult. If health care tackles the situation correctly organizations can be changed to facilitators for telemedicine. Time has come for work with the organizational problems.
Aas, I.H. Monrad (2007): The organizational challenge for health care: from telemedicine and e-health. Oslo: Work Research Institute.
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I.H. Monrad Aas, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org