Know the Brief History of Telehealth and Telemedicine

We are living in the age of high communication and information technology but still, most people are facing problem to improve their health. The term ‘Telemedicine’ allow people to use information technology as well as telecommunication infrastructure to provide a clinical healthcare solution from a distance. The term widely used to overcome distance barriers & improve access to critical medical services. It allows healthcare providers to treat patients while overcoming the need for an in-person visit.

Exactly when telecommunications first were used in health care is unknown as the concept may have originated centuries ago when astronauts first went into space. Even, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration built telemedicine technology into early spacecraft to monitor astronauts’ physiological parameters. The history of Telemedicine describes the view of telemedicine that closely parallels the history of communication and information technologies. The key technical feature of telemedicine is being able to communicate medical data over a distance.


Brief History of Telemedicine:


The development of the term “Telemedicine” started with the invention of telecommunication infrastructures such as the telegraph, the telephone. In past days, the technology used in various military situations especially during the Civil War.

At the time of 1900, the telephone was the mainstay of medical communications and physicians were among the first to adopt it. About the time of World War, I, radio communication was established, and, by 1930, it was used in remote areas such as Alaska to transfer medical information. Radio communication was used regularly to dispatch medical teams by the time of the Korean and Vietnam conflicts.

Modern telemedicine systems invented from the manned space-flight program and one of the distance barriers was telemetry research and development undertaken by NASA in its manned space-flight program. NASA’s engineers, scientists developed biomedical telemetry and telecommunications systems for biomedical applications. Originally, NASA engineer concerned with the physiological effects of zero gravity which was then translated into constant monitoring of physiological functions.

Another essential telemedicine history course of events uncovers a 1940’s occurrence in Pennsylvania where radiology pictures effectively sent between two far-off townships territories through the phone line. This is the first typical example of a successful electronic medical record transfer.

A second major influence on the development of telemedicine was by the late 1950s, a talented Canadian doctor adopted the concepts of telemedicine and formed a teleradiology system to provide remote healthcare services in Montreal. In 1964, the first interactive video link was established between the Nebraska Psychiatric Institute in Omaha and the Norfolk State Hospital. In 1967, the first complete telemedicine system linking paraprofessionals and physician-patient encounter settings were installed. Over the years, the practice of telemedicine became widespread among the doctors and the health care clinics.

Through the late 1960s and early 1970s, the federal government supports the implementation of seven telemedicine research-and-demonstration projects. It was anticipated that the several projects would help determine capabilities of equipment and their clinical applicability. Several programs were developed in rural areas where medical staffing has been a critical issue.

In spite of a large number of projects, answers were found for some questions while more research was recommended to find more answers. It was demonstrated that telecommunications could be utilized as a substitute for travel to obtain medical care and the feasibility of establishing the technological base for telemedicine was verified.

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