A short history of telemedicine

The word "telemedicine & # 39; appeared for the first time in 1948, when two hospitals in West Chester and Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, used a telephone line to transmit X-rays from one to another – at a distance of 24 miles. Canadian radiologists at the Montreal Hospital Jean-Thallon described this event in their internal literature as 'telemedicine', and later 'teleradiology' – and they immediately started setting up a system for the same thing with their satellite centers.

The first widely recognized use of telemedicine using video was in 1959 – in Nebraska of all places. The Psychiatric Institute of the University of Nebraska established a two-way closed-circuit television system and delivered a signal to the classrooms to allow students to observe and contribute to psychiatric examinations.

As in many other areas of technology in the 1960s, NASA took the next major steps on the ground. Telemetry has already been established in many places around the space shuttle; Adding several systems to track vital astronaut signs was an obvious choice. Similarly, the development of video health was essential to track the well-being of astronauts who spent longer periods in orbit. This technology was rapidly assimilated by the military and then expanded into the private sector. There he encountered special use in monitoring the health of the oil platform workers hundreds of miles from the coast.

In 1974, a first detailed investigation into the possibilities of remote diagnostics was published, with NASA putting the nurse and patient into one room and after the nurse had done a detailed examination. The quality of audio and video was as high as technology allowed – but later, before any of them were examined for a doctor, both were deliberately degraded. The goal was to determine the "minimum useful level" of sound and video quality – in other words, the level of quality at which tested physicians were no longer able to reliably diagnose on the basis of exams.

In the late 1980s and early 1990s, the Government of Norway showed great interest in the development of the health sector. Already possessing a universal health care program, and with remote, inaccessible regions that were cut off from the rest of the world for months, Norway saw the potential for a strong return to the research and invested money in development efforts.

In the US, the Telecommunications Law of 1996 created a fund for rural health centers for the development of telecommunications and broadband internet services, which has led to the focus on rural areas for telemedicine financing that continues today. In 2003, the Veterans' Administration began investing heavily in three areas: remote house surveillance, recording and sending data and clinical video conferencing. As a result, in 2013, more than half a million veterans of US military services joined one or more of these telemedicine services.

Telemedicine has arrived – yet it is coming. The development of the mobile market has added a completely new dimension to the old concepts that were conducted in the early years. Where will the field finish? Only time will show!