What is Telemedicine?

June 18, 2012

Telemedicine is the emerging and a promising technology which will help ease the patients in far off areas and ensuring timely medication to all the people.  In this post, we will try to explain this emerging trend for our readers.

Telemedicine – as the name implies refers to the use of information and communication technologies (ICTs) for the delivery of clinical care.

90’s saw the boom in communication and information technology thanks to the proliferation of computer and internet along with ease in the means of communication around the globe thus starting the evolution of telemedicine. The history of telemedicine is said to begin the time when doctors started exchanging opinions over medical records via telephone and fax regarding the accuracy of a examination or treatment.

Two different kinds of technologies make up most of the telemedicine applications that we see around today. One of them is ‘store and forward’ and the other being ‘real time medicine‘.

In the ‘store and forward’, mediacl data is transferred from one location to another. Using digital camera, the image taken (‘stored’) and then sent (‘forwarded’) by computer to another location. This is typically used for non-emergent situations, when a diagnosis or consultation may be made in the next 24 – 48 hours and sent back. CT scans, sending x-ray reports and MRIs are its most common examples.

For ‘real time medicine, the patients data is available to the specialist as soon as the local doctor receives it. Live conferencing technology and live data transmission are used in this technique.

To emphasize the importance of telemedicine, consider the scenario where you are suffering from some disease and you go to your doctor for treatment. The doctor examines you and is concerned. So instead of referring you to a specialist who is at hour or so drive distance, he uses telemedicine for contacting the specialist, time saving and interactive at the same time isn’t it. During a life threatening situation the importance of telemedicine becomes more significant.

Image courtesy of Interactive Care.

  • Hamid abbas

    thank u for this information

  • Christina Woodruff

    I was wanting to know if I could use this image for a presentation that I am doing for class? How would I get permission for copyright??