Telemedicine is the use of telecommunication and information technology to provide clinical health care from a distance. It has been used to overcome distance barriers and to improve access to medical services that would often not be consistently available in distant rural communities. It is also used to save lives in critical care and emergency situations. Although there were distant precursors to telemedicine, it is essentially a product of 20th century telecommunication and information technologies.These technologies permit communications between patient and medical staff with both convenience and fidelity, as well as the transmission of medical, imaging and health informatics data from one site to another.
Early forms of telemedicine achieved with telephone and radio have been supplemented with video-telephony, advanced diagnostic methods supported by distributed client/server applications, and additionally with tele-medical devices to support in-home care.

Advantages of Tele-medicine:

One of the biggest is it gives you access to specialists and information that you might not readily have access to otherwise. During a telemedicine consultation, you usually have a chance to tell the doctor about your medical history and ask questions. In turn, the specialist can ask you questions directly.
• This telemedicine setup is better than trying to relay information to your doctor or nurse, and then having them relay the message. The specialist can hear the sound of your cough or see your swollen eyes. You can hear firsthand about your diagnosis and treatment options. Telemedicine is considered a regular healthcare service. In most cases, it should be billable to your health care insurance without issue.
• Telemedicine can be beneficial to patients in isolated communities and remote regions, who can receive care from doctors or specialists far away without the patient having to travel to visit them.
• Telemedicine also can eliminate the possible transmission of infectious diseases or parasites between patients and medical staff. This is particularly an issue where MRSA is a concern.

Why are Telemedicine & Tele-health so Important in Our Healthcare System?

Tele-health increases access to healthcare:

• Remote patients can more easily obtain clinical services.
• Remote hospitals can provide emergency and intensive care services.

Tele-health improves health outcomes:

• Patients diagnosed and treated earlier often have improved outcomes and less costly treatments.
• Patients with Tele-health supported ICU’s have substantially reduced mortality rates, reduced complications, and reduced hospital stays.

Tele-health reduces healthcare costs:

• Home monitoring programs can reduce high cost hospital visits.
• High cost patient transfers for stroke and other emergencies are reduced.

Tele-health assists in addressing shortages and misdistribution of healthcare providers:

• Specialists can serve more patients using Tele-health technologies.
• Nursing shortages can be addressed using Tele-health technologiess.