Telemedicine Explained: A Deep Dive Into the History of Telemedicine

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Technology has changed the way we receive medical care. For example, a patient who has a heart problem may have an ECG device to monitor and report his or her heart rate to the doctor.

The interaction of medicine with modern technology is referred to as telemedicine. Telemedicine could be as simple as the doctor checking up on you via email, or the use of sophisticated devices to monitor patient health and perform surgery.

The extract below will take you on a journey into the history of telemedicine.

Early Ages (Late 19th Cen- Late ’70s)

The history of telemedicine can be traced back to the years following the invention of the telephone. As the device became popular, doctors used the technology to monitor the health of their patients.

One of the most significant contributions of the telephone was when it was used to transfer electronic medical records in Pennsylvania during the early 1940s.

Things would take a turn with the invention of the radio and television. Doctors began to experiment on how they would use the new technology to treat patients.

The Nebraska Psychiatric Institute set new standards in 1968 when it developed a Closed Circuit Television system that connected the facility to the Norfolk State Hospital. Doctors held consultative meetings through the system to improve the quality of care they accorded to patients.

Another significant development during this era was a partnership between NASA and Indian Health Services to use telemedicine to deliver healthcare to the native Indian community. Space technology was used to transmit medical records between hospitals.

Middle Ages (Early ’80s-Late ’90s)

The ’80s and ’90s had more research on how radiology would be used to transfer medical data. However, the invention of the internet would give new life to telemedicine research.

The internet provided unlimited possibilities to how telemedicine would be used. For instance, doctors could engage in video teleconferencing to discuss patient diagnosis and treatment.

Another significant breakthrough in the late ’90s was the Little Intelligent Communities (LINCOS) project, which was spearheaded by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). The project aimed at providing education, health and internet solutions to rural communities.

Health care providers in the rural setting would receive a telemedicine kit consisting of a stethoscope, computer, ECG machine, medical imaging system, and a thermometer. The health worker would use the equipment to capture patient data and transmit it to a doctor for diagnosis.

The History of Telemedicine in The 21st Century

The 21st Century has had a lot of telemedicine inventions. For example, today, doctors today can monitor patient health through wristbands that track the heart rate and temperature of the patient. On the other hand, videoconferencing involves the use of high-tech cameras that can take detailed organ pictures.

Doctors today perform remote surgery using robots. There seems to be limitless possibilities in the telemedicine industry with increased research aimed at improving a doctor’s accuracy and productivity. For example, smart glasses that can transcribe patient data during diagnosis are in their late development stages.

Let’s Dive into The Digital Era

Today, technology is integrated into every aspect of our lives. Therefore, we can expect more inventions aimed at ensuring we receive affordable, quality, and holistic healthcare.

Now that you know the history of telemedicine read our website for fascinating articles on how to improve your health.