Telemedicine is the use of telecommunications technology to provide health care services to patients who are geographically separated from a physician or other health care providers. Interest in using telemedicine to solve a number of problems in health care delivery has been growing worldwide in recent years. The types of teleconsultation services could include real-time and store-forward consultations, continuing medical education, and patient information sessions. (Lopez et al. 2005). The Telemedicine Action Report of the Western Governors' Association, published in 1994, outlined barriers to implementation of telemedicine and recommended a variety of actions and solutions including the initiation of statewide telemedicine networks (Cooley 1996). Store-forward consultations are performed when the diagnostic question does not require direct audio and video interaction or a virtual physical examination. Teleradiology is the most common example of this type of teleconsultation. Patient information can be recorded as an image, either through video, photograph, or through a diagnostic test, such as a radiograph, and can be transmitted after the initial consultation with the patient and referring physician has taken place. The teleconsultant reviews these data at a later time and provides a diagnostic assessment and therapeutic recommendation to the referring practitioner on his or her findings. Although the collection of patient data and the assessment of patient data by the teleconsultant are disconnected, accurate diagnostic assessments can be made based on the data transmitted and high-levels of patient satisfaction have been reported (Lopez et al. 2005).
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- General Medicine