Telemedicine, Categories, History, Advantages and Related Items
Before we get into telemedicine, let’s take a look at some of its contexts – one of the most important of which is “home care.”
Home care means the support and health-care of patients at home by licensed individuals in related fields.
One of the reasons for the development of home care services is to provide care to patients with chronic diseases who need timely medical assistance. With the proliferation of home care worldwide, especially in developed countries, policymakers, providers, and financial managers are looking for ways to make home care a viable alternative to hospital care – without increasing costs and maintaining quality. One of the best ways to handle this issue is to use telemedicine through video conferencing software.
This article describes telemedicine, its different parts, history, advantages, and other related items.
SOJECT is one of the companies that specialize in the production of personalized audio and video software. Video conferencing software made by SOJECT provides the basis for quality and affordable home care services.
What is Telemedicine?
The term telemedicine consists of two parts, Tele and medicine. Tele means telecommunication, and medicine means therapy.
There are various definitions for telemedicine, including the use of communication technology to transmit medical services and the exchange of medical information when the physical distance separates the parties (patient and physician).
The British Telemedicine Association defines telemedicine as the provision of medical services where distance is an influential factor, by professionals using information and communication technology to exchange accurate information on diagnosis, treatment, and prevention diseases and research, using the latest achievements in the field of health services to ensure the health of people as much as possible.
In general, we can assume telemedicine refers to the use of communication and information technology in medicine to provide medical services remotely, without the need for face-to-face communication between patient and physician. The telemedicine process requires the transmission of text, images, audio, video, or electrical converted signals. Telemedicine is a broad term that involves using different technologies and networks to interact between various medical and institutional centers.
Learn more: The Benefits of Video Conferencing
The reason for the increasing home care services via telemedicine
The reason for the increasing home care services via telemedicine is not only economical but also related to a number of factors:
- A rising number of the elderly and chronic diseases
- Lack of access to acute and subacute inpatient services
- Technological advances,
- Improving living standards,
- Personal preferences of some patients.
We should consider home care services via telemedicine as part of the health care delivery chain.
Different parts of telemedicine system:
- Communication tools
- Communication networks
- Clients (patient and treatment team)
Each of these is important alone but we must be consider them in an integrated manner to run successful telemedicine.
This includes all the devices and software needed for a successful telemedicine connection: telephone, computer or laptop, video phone, video conferencing equipment, peripheral devices designed to send output to remote locations, video conferencing software, etc.
Peripherals devices play an essential role in telemedicine. These devices can get connected to a video conferencing system or other related technologies to transmit body sounds (such as heart sounds), images, and videos (such as images and videos taken from inside the body during surgery).
Some of these peripherals are:
A) Otoscope: This device makes it possible to send images of patients’ ears, nose, and throat remotely.
B) Electronic Stethoscope: This device allows sending the sound of the heart, lungs, and abdomen.
C) Examination camera that provides various utilities such as sending videos and photos of the skin, throat and the possibility of two-way communication between the patient and the specialist.
Without communication networks, advanced telemedicine equipment can not be used. The networks transmit information from equipment to distant places. There are several networks for sharing data, including old telephone networks, new digital telephone networks, network such as Asynchronous Transfer Mode (ATM), satellites, the Internet, and microwaves.
SOJECT produces personalized video conferencing software in various fields, including telemedicine. Ask us for the appropriate software that meets your needs.
The choice of any of these networks depends on numerous factors. For example, the transfer of information from sea to land or space to the earth requires its own network. Furthermore, the network’s cost and access to it at both the origin and the destination are also crucial in the selection.
Clients (patient and treatment team)
Even if you build an excellent telemedicine network, you will not succeed if it is not easily accessible to the general public. Public networks are a very crucial factor, even more, important than electronic communication networks. For this reason, users of this system must be carefully trained and supported.
For example, if users are both at sea and on land (such as naval personnel communicating with a maritime hospital on land), they should be well trained on meeting their needs using telemedicine.
However, most telemedicine audiences usually communicate through public networks such as the Internet. We need to educate this group of people to understand why they need this technology and how to use it.
Without clients, however, telemedicine is meaningless.
As telemedicine is an emerging technology, many countries do not yet have appropriate rules and regulations for its use. Things like which party (patient or hospital) pays? When and how is this fee received? How does the implementation of laws related to the disclosure of patient secrets monitor? In case of problems during the consultation or visit, who will pay for it? And things like that.
Telemedicine from yesterday to today
Telemedicine has been used since 1959 when the first experiments in telepsychiatry and telefluoroscopy were done, and new surgical instruments were introduced at conferences.
Telemetry methods peaked in the 1960s, mainly with radio telemetry, of astronauts’ parameters during training and space travel.
About 40 years ago, the simplest type of telemedicine, the ECG, was performed remotely over a regular network telephone line. In the 1970s and 1990s, telemedicine focused on sending images via television, and in the early 1990s, video conferencing was increasingly used in teleconsultation.
Learn more: Telemedicine History
Applications of telemedicine
Remote doctor visits
One of the most effective uses of telemedicine is to make remote doctor visits. Home care patients who cannot move, live in a remote area, people who have a chronic illness, or their transfer to medical centers is challenging due to mobility issues can get necessary medical care by telemedicine. Video conference applications are also useful for postoperative examinations, wound care, or people with disabilities.
Monitoring surgeries and other procedures remotely
Top professionals are not always available everywhere. On the other hand, using their expertise in diagnosing, treating, and monitoring specific procedures is sometimes really necessary. Telemedicine allows such people to remotely participate in or guide certain surgeries.
Consulting specialists in various fields has been done for many years. Turning these counseling sessions into online types allows doctors to meet and consult with each other without leaving their office or workplace.
How telemedicine systems work
To perform these activities, first, the central device and the coding unit make necessary changes to data to make them ready to transfer via the selected network. These modifications usually involve digitizing and compressing audio and video, after which the data will be transferred to another location farther away from the origin.
One of the advantages of using digital information is its compression capability. Compression reduces the required bandwidth and thus the cost of the communication network.
To better understand this, let us give an example. Consider fruit juice and fruit concentrate. As the concentrate is concentrated!!, it takes up less space during transfer than fruit juice. The liquid is changed to concentrate at the origin, and after reaching the destination, it turns into juice again by adding water.
The data is transmitted in the same way by getting reduced in size through digitization before getting transferred. Then they return to their original form at the destination.
The benefits of telemedicine
In summary, some of the benefits of telemedicine include:
- Saveing both doctor and patient time
- Reduceing the cost of multiple visits in the office
- Reduceing errors and speeds up consultations
- Using of patients’ database to study the process of disease recovery
- Possibility to use the experiences of doctors and specialists elsewhere
- Easy and quick exchanging laboratory results, radiological images, etc
- Improving the provision of medical services to rural and remote areas
- Training rural health workers, students, and medical staff
- Providing facilities for physicians to conduct automated examinations
- Increasing access to health care (urban and rural)
- Improving the quality of health care
- Reducing medical errors
- Improving access to information, especially in the field of infectious diseases
- Exchanging of new medical findings between physicians around the world
SOJECT and Telemedicine Company
We have been producing various software projects for a long time. Our commitment to creating quality and useful apps, a professional team, team performance, professional behavior, and customer satisfaction is our priority.
The focus of our business is on the production of personalized video conferencing software. Instead of using ready-made software, our consultants at SOJECT help you assess the needs and prepare the software’s initial design that meets your requirements. Then our developers will produce the software you need.
If you want to produce your own telemedicine software, contact SOJECT through this site.