What is telemedicine? This rapidly growing field has several applications, but what they have in common is delivery of medical information and services via electronic links. Research indicates that some 50 subspecialties benefit from telemedicine. One common use is emailing diagnostic data, such as ultrasound or MRI readings, to specialists, who interpret the results. Telemedicine also can include real-time remote patient consultations. Furthermore, certain devices allow remote patient monitoring to transmit vital signs to healthcare providers. For example, the Veterans Administration provides mobile devices that relay data from scales or blood pressure cuffs; this system lowers costs for treating patients who do not need nursing home care. Additionally, it can be used in place of home visits from nurses. Telemedicine also encompasses online continuing education or information platforms for medical professionals.
About the Author: Dr. Peter Killcommons is the chief executive officer and founder of Medweb, a firm specializing in the development of telemedicine devices and platforms. Dr. Kilcommons heads the company’s Telemedicine, Radiology, and Disaster Response departments.