WHAT IS TELEMEDICINE?
Telemedicine is the use of electronic communication networks for transmission of physical and clinical information and patient data related to diagnosis and treatment of medical conditions. In other words, telemedicine is the use of telecommunication for medical diagnosis and patient care.
The delivery and provision of health care and consultative services to individual patients and the transmission of information related to care, over distance, using tele-communication technologies and incorporating:-
1. Direct clinical, preventive, diagnostic and therapeutic services and treatment,
2. Consultative and follow-up services,
3. Remote monitoring of patients,
4. Rehabilitative services, or
5. Patient education.
INTRODUCTION TO TELEMEDICINE
Tele-medicine has great potential and will certainly have a significant role on the future of Medicine than any other modality in the twenty-first century.
1. In the remote areas it can bring high quality medical care where almost none is available at present.
2. It can provide a lifeline to medical expertise and can provide the urgently needed health care in primary and community health as well as Secondary care hospitals in the country.
Telemedicine in its true sense is the transmission of medical information in the form of audio, video, text and images of patients from one location to another, using telecommunication channels. The main communication is between two or more clinics, hospitals, institutions and health centers, within a country or outside, for consultation, advice and opinion. Telemedicine also means transfer of expertise from one point to another and it is the fastest means of communication consultation for improvement and efficiency in diagnosis and treatment.
The most important aspect of telemedicine is the digital convergence of medical records, charts, X-rays, histopathology slides and medical procedures (including lab. Test) conducted on the patients. This is precisely known as Electronic Patient Record (EPR) in Telemedicine practice.
One of its important applications is in Continuing Medical Education (CME) programme. This is a useful means for medical, nursing and para-medical professionals as well as for those undergoing internship.
TELEMEDICINE-A BRIEF HISTORY
The then Department of Electronics, Govt. of India approved this project “Telemedicine Technology for Optimizing Medical Resources” with connectivity among the three premier institutions in the country, namely: All India Institute of Medical Sciences, New Delhi; Postgraduate Institute of Medical Education & Research, Chandigarh; and Sanjay Gandhi Postgraduate Institute of Medical Sciences, Lucknow. This project was approved in 1998 and started functioning from April 1999. The main thrust areas, to begin with, are: Tele-radiology and Tele-pathology for exchange and transmission of images for discussion, education and opinion. The Transmission of data is to be carried out with ISDN lines. In addition, the facilities for real-time video conferencing were also to be established for medical education and live demonstration of the ongoing programme of interest, seminars and conferences between the three institutions.
In the year 2005 our honorable Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh inagurated the Telemedicine Centre an the link between PGIMER Chandigarh three medical institutes in Punjab i.e.
>Patiala (Mata Kaushalya Hospital)
Telemedicine, right at the beginning of the twenty-first century, may become one of the important disciplines to deliver health care to our people, especially those living in remote and distant areas.
The latest addition to this centre is SAARC