What is Telemedicine?

Telemedicine is a rapidly developing application of clinical medicine where medical information is transferred through the phone or the Internet and sometimes other networks for the purpose of consulting, and sometimes remote medical procedures or examinations.

Telemedicine may be as simple as two health professionals discussing a case over the telephone, or as complex as using satellite technology and video-conferencing equipment to conduct a real-time consultation between medical specialists in two different countries. Telemedicine generally refers to the use of communications and information technologies for the delivery of clinical care.

Care at a distance (also called ''in absentia'' care), is an old practice which was often conducted via post. There has been a long and successful history of in absentia health care which, thanks to modern communication technology, has evolved into what we know as modern telemedicine.

In its early manifestations, African villagers used smoke signals to warn people to stay away from the village in case of serious disease. In the early 1900s, people living in remote areas in Australia used two-way radios, powered by a dynamo driven by a set of bicycle pedals, to communicate with the Royal Flying Doctor Service of Australia.

The terms e-health and telehealth are at times wrongly interchanged with telemedicine. Like the terms "medicine" and "health care", telemedicine often refers only to the provision of clinical services while the term telehealth can refer to clinical and non-clinical services such as medical education, administration, and research. The term e-health is often, particularly in the UK and Europe, used as an umbrella term that includes telehealth, electronic medical records, and other components of health IT.

Further Reading


This article is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article on "Telemedicine" All material adapted used from Wikipedia is available under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License. Wikipedia® itself is a registered trademark of the Wikimedia Foundation, Inc.

Last Updated: Aug 6, 2013

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  1. Brett Robinson Brett Robinson United States says:

    For simple conditions such as getting a cold or flu, it has been very easy for me to get diagnosed and treated online through telemedicine services. I usually get a cold every winter around December, but I don’t want to wait for an appointment with my primary care. If my cold lingers I just need to get a Z-pack and my cold goes away.

    It is so much easier to get diagnosed and get my prescription online. I think telemedicine is really the way of the future and can definitely benefit anyone that is crunched for time.

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