Wednesday, August 24, 2011

What Is Telemedicine?

The American Telemedicine Association defines Telemedicine as "the use of medical information exchanged from one site to another via electronic communications to improve patients' health status."

The term "telehealth", "e-health" and "telemedicine" are often used interchangeably, the difference being that telemedicine involves using information technology primarily for the delivery of clinical services while telehealth and e-health also include the provision of non-clinical healthcare services like tele-education and tele-training for continuing medical education, practice management, research and administration.

Telemedicine is practiced when medical services like health consultations, diagnoses, procedures, patient report analysis, monitoring and so on, are electronically provided by practitioners to patients based in remote locations using telemedicine technology and equipment.

Types of Telemedicine

There are three primary types of telemedicine – Store and Forward, Remote Monitoring and Two-way Real-time Telemedicine.

Store and Forward Telemedicine includes healthcare services for non-emergency situations that can be provided offline, without requiring the presence of the provider and the patient at the same time. It involves the remote patient passing on his medical data like medical history, EMR, scans, reports, past diagnoses etc to the provider who assesses his health status based on the given information and reverts accordingly without carrying out a personal, real-time examination of the patient.

Remote Monitoring includes a telemedical facility actively monitoring patients over remote locations using telemedicine equipment and devices. It is an effective way of monitoring vital signs like ECGs, blood glucose levels, respiratory rates etc for volatile health issues like cardiovascular diseases, asthma and diabetes that require constant care and vigilance.

Two-way Real-time Telemedicine provides consultations, diagnosis and treatment over real-time videoconferencing, live transmission of diagnostic images/videos, phone conversations and other synchronous interactive telemedicine technology where the practitioner and patient remotely connect and interact with each other at a given time with a local doctor as an intermediary.

Besides these, some facilities also provide emergency telemedicine and disaster restoration tele-support services.

Benefits of Telemedicine

Telemedicine services aim to replace or at least equal traditional clinic visits, face-to-face consultations and visiting nurses, save costs and provide better care in locations where the quality of healthcare is not up to the mark. So far, around 50 medical subspecialties have adopted telemedicine with radiology turning out to be a heavy user. Teleradiology is widely used to electronically transmit x-rays, CT scans and other images to remote providers for evaluation and assessment.
Other branches that have resorted to telemedicine to improve their quality, reach and accessibility are dermatology, ophthalmology, psychiatry, cardiology and pathology.

Telemedicine technology allows patients to avail of quality consultations, monitoring, electronic housecalls, testing, diagnosis and treatments from remote locations that may lack the required medical services, connecting patients and practitioners via an integrated, global healthcare system. With telemedicine, practitioners can provide improved diagnoses and better treatments due to comprehensive digital data that is available to them offline and over the web. Follow-ups and monitoring patients becomes easier and more efficient owing to automated active monitoring devices that provide continual and constant connectivity between the two parties. As for patients in remote or under-served areas, telemedicine gives them access to world-class medical services without having to travel or shift base. This not only helps them gain valuable medical advice and treatment from top medical specialists but also saves on their travel expenses, unnecessary hospital visits and in many cases, cost of medicines and expensive health facilities.

Equipment and Facilities Required for Telemedicine

A successful telemedicine program requires specialized telemedicine equipment and facilities. For seamless and uninterrupted delivery of remote medical services, medical devices, peripherals and software solutions supported by expert telemedicine professionals, customer care personnel and training staff must be incorporated within a compatible system that functions according to an effective, tested workflow model.

The following facilities and equipment are usually needed to provide telemedicine services:
- Tele-consultation rooms
- Patient engagement facilities like beds, scopes etc
- Desktops/ Laptops/ Tablet PCs
- Internet Connectivity and Broadband Devices, Routers
- Printer
- Film Scanner
- Digital Camera
- Video Conferencing Kit
- Specialized Tele medicine software for your subspecialty
- Non-invasive pulse and blood pressure unit
- Digital ECG
- Digital Microscope
- Glucometer and Haemogram analyzer
- Mobile vans (in case of mobile or emergency telemedicine centres and ambulatory care sites)

Telemedicine Delivery Channels

Telemedicine services can be provided over four main channels:

1. Point-to-point telemedicine where patients and providers (hospitals, clinics) are connected over private networks directly or through an independent practitioner as an intermediary.
2. Patient is connected to a specialty care provider through tele-videoconferencing for a real time consultation over a home connection.
3. Active tele-monitoring for housebound patients over specialized tele-monitoring systems.
4. Direct web-based telemedicine services and patient-care.

Telemedicine Support in the USA

Despite its numerous benefits, telemedicine has a long way to go before it finds a viable place in the country’s mainstream medical system. The government supports the adoption of telemedicine with a number of incentives and federal grants. The American Telemedicine Association provides more information on federal funding for telemedicine at http://www.americantelemed.org/


References:


25 comments:

EMR WORK FORCE said...

Every healthcare provider should switch to an EMR solution. Paper based records and prescriptions are a thing of the past now and it would be best for both doctors and patients to take advantage of their features and accessibility.

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Sandra said...

Telemedicine has helped many a patients. Also this days telemedicine services are getting less expensive. Teleradiology is definitely number one when it comes to taking the best advantage of telemedicine.

chethran said...

Thanks for sharing, I will bookmark and be back again



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Evan said...

I've used telemedicine myself. Using the "two-way Real-Time" consultations with an online doctor. It's actually pretty amazing and it saved me a great deal of time, especially when I don't want to lose my parking space in my apartment complex.

laura sharon said...

As much as three quarters of hospital staff are usually burdened with some sort of billing-related work in a traditional billing system. Opting for electronic medical billing solutions (ones that come with free EMR plans) that fit easily into the healthcare business' workflow are key to freeing up staff resources.

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Jenni said...

It is true that there will be shock, depression and potentially anger that comes with any diagnosis of cancer but it is important to remember that certain cancers are not as dire in the grand scheme of things. However, when there is a life altering diagnosis made, it is always best to weigh the options and determine what course of treatment will provide you personally the best quality of life.
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Jenni said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Browne thomas said...


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Tyler Graham said...

Telehealth or telemedicine terms are widely used now a days. Telehealth provide you the health services at your home. Care Clix is the Remote Healthcare network provide the remote healthcare services to the patients or physicians.
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Fernando said...

Since radiology has become a very specialized field, using a teleradiology company that has radiologists who are specialized in different areas within radiology has become essential to be able to compete in the market place

Msim said...

It really is genuine that you will see distress, depression as well as perhaps fury that accompany just about any analysis regarding cancer yet you will need to bear in mind a number of varieties of cancer usually are not since dire inside the grand program regarding points.

Tyler Graham said...

Thanks for nice sharing ! CareClix is the leading telemedicine providers Worldwide. Now the Patients can see their doctors from home via the electronic devices and physicians at CareClix examine the multiple patients at the same time with CareClix Medical Examination room.

Rachel Burr said...

The information that you provided was thorough and helpful. I will have to share your article with others.telemedicina

Sanjay Kumar said...

CareClix World larget organization offers the remote healthcare solution worldwide with latest technologies,access anywhere in the world using the laptop, computers or mobiles.check out @Remote Healthcare

Humaun Kabir said...

I found some nice information here on Telemedicine

Frank Sit said...

Nice post, I bookmark your blog because I found very good information on your blog, Thanks for sharing more information
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Chakradhar N said...

video conferencing services allow patients to connect live and on-demand with primary care and specialty physicians, as well as other clinics, from their homes or workplaces. Providers are able to review the patient’s clinical information, discuss symptoms, diagnose, and prescribe medications over a video conference

shishir patwa said...

I mean this web is helping the online medical consultations doctor, help the patient, it's so gratifying.
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James Hadley said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
James Hadley said...

You have given a great insight into telemedicine & e-health technology. Surely, it’s evolving very fast into a basic requirement for advanced healthcare services. Thanks for this great post.

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Sarah MacAdams said...

Best ePrescribing Software Solution have pertinent patient information readily available for doctors to peruse. Doctors can view:

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medicalbilling outsource said...

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Chuan Xu said...

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Anjana Singh said...

Telemedicines are really important aspects now a days. Its really helpful. And such posts are informative for us.

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