Telemedicine

Telehealth is the distribution of health-related services and information through electronic information and telecommunication technologies [1]. It allows long-distance patient and clinician contact, care, advice, reminders, education, intervention, monitoring, and remote admissions [2][3]. Telemedicine is sometimes used as a synonym or is used in a more limited sense to describe remote clinical services, such as diagnosis and monitoring. When rural settings, lack of transport, a lack of mobility, decreased funding, or a lack of staff restrict access to care, telehealth may bridge the gap [4], as well as provider distance-learning; meetings, supervision, and presentations between practitioners; online information and health data management and healthcare system integration [5]. Telehealth could include two clinicians discussing a case over video conference; a robotic surgery occurring through remote access; physical therapy is done via digital monitoring devices, live feed and application combinations; tests being forwarded between facilities for interpretation by a higher specialist; home monitoring through continuous sending of patient health data; client to practitioner online conference; or even videophone interpretation during a consult [1][2][5].


When face to face contact is not applicable, as, in the Covid-19 pandemic, telemedicine had become an important tool. Telehealth reduces the spread of infection while allowing the patient to continue his diagnostic-therapeutic process. Medical examination remains the cornerstone of practice, but telemedicine decreases the number of patient attendances as consultations take place on the telephone, video calls, exchanges of photographic documentation, mobile phone messages, e-mail, or other support applications for computers or mobile phones.


References

  1. “TeleHealth”. The Health Resources and Services Administration. 2017-04-28.
  2. Shaw DK (June 2009). “Overview of telehealth and its application to cardiopulmonary physical therapy”. Cardiopulmonary Physical Therapy Journal. 20 (2): 13–8. doi:10.1097/01823246-200920020-00003. PMC 2845264. PMID 20467533.
  3. Masson, M (December 2014). “Benefits of TED Talks”. Canadian Family Physician. 60 (12): 1080. PMC 4264800. PMID 25500595.
  4. Mashima PA, Doarn CR (December 2008). “Overview of telehealth activities in speech-language pathology”. Telemedicine Journal and E-Health. 14 (10): 1101–17. doi:10.1089/tmj.2008.0080. PMID 19119834.
  5. Miller EA (July 2007). “Solving the disjuncture between research and practice: telehealth trends in the 21st century”. Health Policy. 82 (2): 133–41. doi:10.1016/j.healthpol.2006.09.011. PMID 17046097.
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