Types of Telemedicine

July 28, 2012
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Telemedicine is an area of telehealth that allows for remote consultations with primary care doctors and specialists. In general, there are three broad “types” of telemedicine: store-and-forward, remote patient monitoring and interactive health care services. Each type of telemedicine offers a range of benefits to doctors and patients alike. We’ve provided a brief description of each below:

Telemedicine is an area of telehealth that allows for remote consultations with primary care doctors and specialists. In general, there are three broad “types” of telemedicine: store-and-forward, remote patient monitoring and interactive health care services. Each type of telemedicine offers a range of benefits to doctors and patients alike. We’ve provided a brief description of each below:

Store-and-Forward: Store-and-forward involves the capture of a patient’s medical data, such as diagnostic images, to be securely stored and transmitted to another doctor or specialist for remote assessment of the patient’s condition. The greatest advantage of this technology is that it does not require the presence of both parties at the same time. Rather, high-resolution diagnostic medical images can be captured, stored and shared with a consulting specialist either in real time or for review at a later date.

Remote Patient Monitoring: Remote monitoring allows medical practitioners to monitor a patient’s condition remotely using a wide array of telemedicine technologies. Remote monitoring is most useful for managing chronic conditions, such as heart disease, diabetes mellitus, and even asthma. A recent report revealed that remote monitoring provides patients with improved care in the comfort of their own homes – and could reduce health care costs in the U.S. by almost $200 billion over the next 25 years.

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Interactive Health Care Services: Interactive services made possible by telemedicine technology allow physicians to provide real-time interactions with their patients through phone calls, online communications and video conferencing. Through interactive telemedicine, many health care services, such as medical history reviews, physical examinations, and psychiatric evaluations, can be conducted without any significant difference in the quality of care patients receive compared with traditional in-person visits. In addition, studies have shown that offering interactive telemedicine services can be much less expensive than providing face-to-face visits.