Dr Salah Mandil, Director and Advisor, Telematics, WHO said, "Telemedicine is the actual use of audio, video and data communications in the delivery of health care".
The Telemedicine Research Center in Portland, Oregon, broadly defines telemedicine as the transfer of electronic medical data, such as high-resolution images, sounds, live video, and patient records, from one location to another.
- Healthcare Consumers - Patients, Relatives, Community
- Healthcare Providers - Clinics, Primary Centers, Hospitals, Doctors, Pharmacists, Laboratories, Imaging Centers
- Public Institutions - Ministry of Health Universities - Researchers, Teachers, Students
- Healthcare Financing - Insurance Companies, Managed Care Organizations
What is telemedicine or telehealth?
Telemedicine, a broad umbrella term for delivery of medical care at a distance, has reached around the world, and now health professionals can communicate faster, more widely, and more directly with clients and colleagues, no matter where they are.
The advances and convergence of IT and Telecommunication has brought a host of services to our doorstep including medical care. Telemedicine is set to revolutionise health care. Telemedicine is an established delivery method of health care for exchanging medical information across the distances, using telecommunication technology. It includes the transfer of X-Ray, CT Scan, MRI, Ultrasound images, Pathology reports, endoscopic video images and other procedures. It also includes 'patient live' interviews and examinations, consultation with medical specialists, health care and educational activities, through video conferencing.
Telemedicine is one of the youngest branches of medicine. It stands for transmitting and exchanging medical knowledge by distance using high technology telecommunication devices. It all started in 1968 when Kenneth Byrd and his colleagues reinstated a video connection between the Massachusetts Hospital and Boston Airport, but, there was very little progress made during 1970-1980. Great interest in Telemedicine has been shown in the 90's due to evolution of communication technology. The usage of Telemedicine, exists in almost all the branches of medicine.
LEGISLATIVE, LEGAL AND POLICY ISSUES IN TELEMEDICINE & TELEHEALTH
The use of electronic information and telecommunication technologies to support long-distance clinical health care, patient and professional health-related education, public health and health administration. Telemedicine represents a valuable resource for delivering health-related services to remote, underserved areas, providing greater access to health care for consumers and health professionals. Telemedicine primarily uses videoconferencing equipment. This is an interactive technology and enables patients and health care providers at distant sites to interact "face-to-face". Technological advances now allow for these interactions to occur using a desktop computer.
Telemedicine customarily uses two methods to transmit images, data and sound - either "live", real-time transmission where the consulting professional participates in the examination of the patient while diagnostic information is collected and transmitted, or "store and forward" transmission, where the consulting professional reviews data asynchronous with its collection. Many programs employ both transmission capabilities, to maximize efficient use of resources appropriate to the medical services being provided.
In the past, Telemedicine was used primarily for bringing healthcare services to medically under served areas. While this did benefit the small portion of the population living in remote locations, it did nothing to improve the delivery of health care for the great majority of families.
Today, many of these families are not receiving adequate healthcare despite being fully insured and living within an hour's drive of a tertiary health care facility. For them, convenience, costs and accessibility are the greatest barriers to adequate health care and the primary cause for their high level of dissatisfaction with the current health care delivery system.These are exactly the problems that current approaches to Telemedicine can solve. Using home telemedicine, a home health nurse can effectively care for two to three times as many patients in a day compared to a nurse who must drive from patient to patient. In addition, more than one follow-up visit is easy if the patient needs it. In fact, a patient can request a video follow-up if questions or problems arise between scheduled visits. Earlier field studies suggest that 50 to 60% of patients receiving typical home care services could have some or all of their care provided by home telemedicine. It is anticipated that home telemedicine will play an important role in the management of patients with complex chronic conditions.
The door is open to a new world in which entry into the health care system is accessible from the workplace, school, shopping mall and eventually directly from the home itself. Telemedicine, as it is presented on CONSULTDRMINAS.COM, takes cutting edge medical information and real time medical diagnosis, right into the living room, at home; workers with on the job injuries can receive immediate triage; physicians can supervise compliance monitoring for patients for chronic diseases; specialist treatment teams can develop treatment plans without incurring travel costs, medical care is being refined, so that it can be delivered 24/7. In providing this kind of improved access, Telemedicine also can address a sometimes overlooked element in healthcare - the patient's need to build an ongoing relationship with a health provider with whom, they feel comfortable and whose judgment they trust!
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