The Art of Telemedicine

Tuesday, August 18, 2015
David Abrams

Telemedicine, defined as the use of technologies—including telephones—to remotely diagnose, monitor and treat patients, has actually been practiced for decades. Beginning in the 1960s when the space program began, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) was able to chart their astronauts’ vital statistics thanks to specially designed monitors attached to their spacesuits.With the advent of satellite technology, NASA also pioneered several earthbound projects that allowed them, for instance, to deliver health care to the Papago Indian Reservation in Arizona. In 1974, the agency first used high-quality videotape during a health exam conducted by a nurse but monitored by a doctor via close-circuit television. Fast forward four decades, and Telemedicine is fast becoming one of the most accurate and cost-effective ways to conduct doctor to patient evaluations.While it cannot accomplish everything that a patient may ultimately need in terms of health care, it has become a very viable alternative to in office visits, saving a patient valuable time while allowing a doctor the time to do what he or she does best – practice the art of medicine.

The practice of Telemedicine differs from a standard office visit in that it makes innovative use of advanced technologies to communicate more directly with patients.

Thanks to the digitization of many diagnostic devices and the increasing popularity of mobile health and tracking devices, like Fitbit, Fuel Jawbone and now Apple iWatch, anyone can keep better track of their own health and vitality. Then with Telemedicine they can reach out and share that data with their healthcare provider who can be just about anywhere.

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