Telemedicine : The American Telemedicine Association Defines Telemedicine
The American Telemedicine Association defines telemedicine as, “the use of medical information exchanged from one site to another via electronic communications to improve a patient’s clinical health status.” However, the definition differs according to the source and varies from state to state. While the terms telemedicine and telehealth have definitions that differ somewhat depending on the source, the two terms are used interchangeably.
Telemedicine can be used in several types of healthcare settings and can be utilized in areas such as patient care, training, research, and public health (Breen & Matusitz, 2010). It is particularly valuable for providing treatment of populations in remote locations. The use of telemedicine as we know it today can be dated back to as early as 1959 in a study conducted in a psychiatric setting using a two way closed-circuit microwave television (Breen & Matusitz, 2010). NASA also utilized telemedicine to monitor astronauts in early space exploration. Later, in the 1970s, the Space Technology Applied to Rural Papago Advanced Health Care program (STARPAHC) was introduced to bring healthcare to remote areas and developing nations through telemedicine.
Telemedicine began to gain wider acceptance in the 1980s in part due to the decreasing cost of technology. Then, in the 1990s, The Office for the Advancement of Telehealth was established by The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, and the use of health IT…