When Did It All Begin?
Most people do not realize it, but the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) has contributed enormously to our lives and to the world of medicine. In fact, the Space Program was the foundation on which telemedicine was born. In the 1960s, NASA used technology to measure the health and well-being of the astronauts. By using technology built into their spacesuits and satellite technology, physicians were able to monitor the vital signs of their patients as they floated way above the earth. NASA took that technology and used it to deliver healthcare to a remote Indian reservation in Arizona. Using x-ray machines and electrocardiographs, paramedics transmitted the results to specialists.
How Has Technology Changed?
It’s astonishing how much technology has changed our lives and saved our lives since the early beginnings of telemedicine. Over the past several years, advancements in telehealth technology has enabled medical specialists to diagnose and treat patients in remote locations. With the shortage of in-house physicians, many hospitals are turning to telemedicine to treat patients.
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Today, there are more opportunities to use standardized products, such as off-the-shelf computer components and low-cost cameras. With the infiltration of open source networking standards and scalable software, you do not need to have a computer science background to effectively use the equipment. If you can use your smart phone, you can operate a telemedicine system.
Two of The Newest TeleHealth Technology Trends are:
The first is data analytics. The ability to gather information provides medical specialists with a broad spectrum of information they need to make informed diagnoses and decisions. Telemedicine program managers have been gathering data and using it to understand and inform the community of specific metrics and trends. Arming medical specialists with this knowledge is truly beneficial for all patients.
The second is the capability to go beyond diagnostics to actual treatment. The article, The Familiar with Telemedicine? Mayo Clinic is Taking Next Step with New Robotic ‘Telestenting’ Procedure, describes how the Mayo Clinic is collaborating with Corindus Vascular Robotics to enable physicians to remotely perform minimally-invasive percutaneous coronary interventions, such as inserting stents. The future of remotely operated robotic medical systems is here and is the next, best tool for telemedicine providers in their quest for providing patient care.