This article gives the information about telemedicine how information technology implements the concept of telemedicine. Telemedicine is a field of care with the combination of telecommunication and information technologies to provide medical help at distant places. It can be as simple as having a telephonic call between two doctors for expert opinion or the between the patient and the doctor for medical assistance or can be complex as transmission of medical, health information and imaging data from one site to another. Though telemedicine did exit even before the 20th century, but the invention and advancement in the ICT has eased and increased vast scope of telemedicine.
It has become easy to send any kind of medical data anywhere across the global for medical help. Communication between the medical staff and doctors with expert opinion for the patient has changed the face of the treatment – video conferencing, teleradiology or telepath logy are some of them. Rural health development which is one of the major issues in India as 60 percent of the whole country under the rural sector needs large development and the facilities for providing the health care. Telemedicine is one of the instrumental ways for brining a big change in the health care sector.
Telemedicine can be defined in many ways According to the World Health Organization (WHO) telemedicine is defined as “The delivery of health care services where distance is a critical factor by all health care professional using information and communication technology for the exchange of valid information for diagnosis treatment and prevention of disease, injuries and to do research and evaluation and for continuing education of heath care providers all in the interest of advancing the health of individuals and their communities”
TYPES OF TELEMEDICINE:
Telemedicine types can be listed below:
- Technology involved
- Application adopted
Technology involved is a category where using various technological methods can provide the medical assistance as per requirement. It can be further categorized as:
- Store and forward (Asynchronous)
- Real time (synchronous)
- Remote monitoring
Application adopted is a category where depending on various medical branches we can further categorize them by providing the required medical help:
STORE AND FORWARD:
In this technique, medical data is obtained and stored by one medical professional and transmitted to the other for the expert opinion. That can be further used by the doctor for the treatment of patient. Here, online presences of the doctor on both the side on the same time is not required as a data is used as offline only data transmitting technique is required to send the data anywhere. Pathological data or radiology reports are the best examples for the same.
It can also be known as self monitoring or testing enables medical professional to monitor a patient remotely using various technology devices. This method is primarily used for managing chronic diseases or specific conditions, such as heart diseases, diabetes mellitus or asthma.
REAL TIME :
In this technique real time interaction between patient and medical professional is obtained which can include phone conversations online communication and home visits.
Telepathology is the practice of pathology at diseases. It uses telecommunication technology to facilities the transfer of image rich pathology data between distant location for the purposes of diagnosis, research and education. Telepathology performance requires that pathology selects the video images for analysis and rendering diagnoses.
Teleradiology is also the practice of the radiology data (e.g. X-ray, PET scan etc) at distant place where the image of radiology data are been uploaded on the computers and sent. The images received on computers are studied an reported as per requirement.
ECGs or electrocardiographic can be transmitted using telephone and wireless. Willem Einthoven the inventor of ECG actually did tests with transmission of ECG via telephone lines. Thehospital didn’t allowed him to move patient outside the hospital to his laboratory for testing of his new devices. One of the oldest known telecardiology systems for teletransmissions of ECG was established in Gwalior, India in 1975 at GR Medical collage by Dr.Ajai Shanker, Dr. S makhija using indigenous techniques for the first time in India. This system enabled wireless transmission of ECG from the moving ICU van or the patient home to the central station in ICU of the department of medicine. This system to monitor patients with pacemakers in remote areas was also used. The central controlling unit at the ICU was able to correctly interpret arrhythmia.
IMPLEMNTATION OF TELEMEDICINE:
A practical implementation of telecariology is done in Gujarat India for the study of ECG for critical or heart attack patients. The general practitioners who do not have the facility for the echo cardiogram of the patient and is required or is must are helped out by this telemedicine project. This is the current scenario where the general practitioners and the cardiologist or the consulting Physician are the member of the ECG team. On the request of the family physician a technician is send from the central room of the team to the patient where the technician takes the ECG of the patient and uploads the data with various personal and health information provided by the patient to the server. On the other hand the expert doctors logins with his unique ID and gets connected to the server. Here he can view the data and ECG of the patient sent to him. After the study of the ECG he can report the required information and send back to the technician. After receiving the report from the expert doctor the technician prints the ECG and report obtained and given to the patient.
ADVANTAGES OF TELEMEDICINE:
- It Eliminates distance barriers and improves access to quality health services.
- Reduces unnecessary travel time for health professional.
- Reduces cost of patient and inconvenience.
- Reduces isolation of rural practice by upgrading their Knowledge through tele-education.
- Developing virtual communication that interacts and shares knowledge.