Telemedicine is a tool which allows healthcare providers the means to offer services when separated between counties, regions and beyond through the application of information technologies. Over time, the involvement of clinicians and the research of health specialists helped designate a system using electronic information and telecommunications to unite health care providers and patients over distances. The common methods of communication such as the telephone and radio are well established, however new technologies are right around the corner. Telemedicine can be categorized into two groups, “real-time,” and “store-and-forward.”
Real-time involves each sides in presence and active communicating. In real-time telemedicine, a video and audio connection allows clinician to communicate, give patient consultations and perform medical procedures. Video conferencing equipment is a form of real-time telemedicine.
Store-and-forward is where each sides' presence is not required. In store-and-forward telemedicine, digital images and data can be stored and transmitted between clinicians for later review. The transmission of x-ray images represents a form of store-and-forward telemedicine.
The tools in telemedicine can consist of specialized programs, cameras, microphones and specially designed medical equipment such as modified stethoscopes which can transmit patient data electronically. Medical specialties which utilize telemedicine in their practice, attach the “tele” prefix such as telecardilogy, telesurgery, or teleradiology.
Telemedicine Specific Concerns
Telemedicine is definitely a boon to those located in rural areas or away from specialists, however, as telemedicine is used to bridge greater and greater distances problems unique to telemedicine begin to arise. The most noticeable problem is when the doctor or medical provider and the patient are so estranged that they are each responsible to different rules and regulations.


  • Telesurgery would allow doctors to work off of a stream of visual and tactile information to guide remote robotic instruments in a surgery across any distance.
  • Telemedicine can be applied in emergency situations, where communication is critical to the lives of disaster survivors en route to regional hospitals; such is the case with the 1985 earthquake in Mexico City.
  • Rural Telemedicine would allow clinicians of any sort to link with and diagnose patients in distant rural areas in an efficient and effective manner.
  • General practitioners of any sort can consult with specialists in the care of their patients regardless of the distance.
  • Telemedicine can allow the monitoring of chronic patients at home, allowing a practitioner to manage a patients vitals and take appropriate action when necessary.

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