Science fiction has always been known for its predictions. After all, the genre itself sprung from the minds of futurists and speculative scientists. That is why it should come as no surprise to learn that the cutting edge medical practice known as telemedicine has similar roots. All it takes is a revolutionary invention such as radio to spark an image like the one on the cover of the April 1924 issue of Radio News. It features a television-like contraption enabling a family to experience a doctor visit in the comfort of their own home. The editor seized the concept of two-way communication and inadvertently gave birth to the concept of telemedicine.
Of course, the first experimental television transmission did not occur until 1927, three years after the magazine was published. Radio had only just started reaching American homes. Yet, human ingenuity had already ensured that wherever a signal could be received, vital information would ride on its back. During the Civil War, telegraph had been used to transmit everything from medical supplies to lists of casualties. It is even conceivable that medical consultations could have taken place. In 1876, Alexander Graham Bell invented the telephone and the human voice entered the fray.
The first branch of medicine to establish a basic model for telemedicine was radiology. In the late 1940’s, radiologists transmitted medical records over a distance of 24 miles, from West Chester to Philadelphia, PA. At the start of the 50’s, medical literature already began making references to telemedicine. Canadian radiologists actually established a teleradiology system. At the end of that decade, video communications were being used by the American medical community to accomplish everything from neurological examinations to group therapy sessions and even training seminars. By the time TV dominated American culture and begun beaming Jack Kennedy into living rooms, government agencies like NASA, the Department of Defense and the U.S. Department of Health, Education and Welfare began to take interest in the possibilities of telemedicine.
With Uncle Sam investing time and money in telemedicine, progress picked up the pace. A string of breakthroughs followed
Once satellites entered the picture, the road to modern telemedicine was paved. The reliability of satellite networks made it possible for the idea to expand beyond universities and medical centers to private industry. The federal government has long since begun to amass an inventory of telemedicine applications. The Department of Defense and Department of Veterans Affairs keep full record of telemedicine activities at their facilities. Private organizations have long since been keeping track of both public and private telemedicine programs. The advent of the World Wide Web and now, wireless technology, has blown the field of telemedicine wide open. The possibilities are exhilarating. MD Live Care prides itself on being at the forefront of modern telemedicine. To learn more about what telemedicine can do for you, contact us today.