Top 10 Tips: What is the History of Telemedicine?

Top 10 Tips: What is the History of Telemedicine?

Given that telemedicine leans heavily on telecommunication technology, as per discussions on the same over at, then it is no surprise that its history closely follows that of communication and information technologies. It is, therefore, no surprise that telemedicine was being practiced even in ancient times, as is revealed in discussions on the same over at If you have been looking for information on the history of telemedicine, then you are in the right place as this article will look to shed a bit of light on that topic through the following 10 tips.

Telemedicine in ancient times

You may be surprised, but as mentioned above and covered over at, telemedicine was being practiced in ancient times. In addition to using human messengers to pass on medication or medical advice, other forms of long-distance communication were also being used. These include smoke signals, fires, horns, and so forth. As per the gurus over at, there is strong evidence to indicate that these modes of communication, particularly smoke signals, were used to communicate medical information such as information on plague outbreaks or births and deaths, and so forth. This is an example of some form of telemedicine way back in 500 BC.

Telemedicine as we know it

The methods discussed above have little resemblance to telemedicine as we now know it, with the history of the same being traced back to the invention of the telephone and the electrical telegraph, as covered over at Given the complexity in using it, few people installed telegraph technology back then when it was invented, however, as is seen in discussions over at, it was being used for telemedicine by the military to order medical supplies, communicate injuries and deaths as well as for medical consultations.

The expansion of the telephone network

The invention of the telephone brought about telemedicine as we now know it, with physicians being able to talk to their patients as well as with other physicians over the phone. As the telephone network expanded in the 1900s, telemedicine continued to grow. In 1968, 9-1-1 was introduced as the official emergency telephone number in the U.S., which made it easier and quicker to access emergency medical care, as per the subject matter experts over at

The first case of real-time video telemedicine

In 1959, in what is yet another tip on the history of telemedicine, the University of Nebraska used interactive telemedicine to transmit neurological examinations, with a more detailed write-up on the same to be found over at the highly reliable This is considered to be the first case of a real-time video telemedicine consultation, and it paved the way for other such consultations to follow.

The early days of telemedicine

As is revealed in discussions on the same over at, in the 1960s and ’70s, NASA, the Department of Defense, the Public Health Department as well as the U.S. Health and Human Services Department, all put in time and money to research telemedicine. This resulted in several successful projects on the same, including the partnership between the Indian Health Services and NASA, a project, known as the STARPAHC project, which provided both the Native Americans on the Papago Reservation in Arizona as well as astronauts in orbit with access to medical care services.

Radiology and telemedicine

As per the gurus over at, radiology was the first medical specialty to fully embrace telemedicine. Taking advantage of grant-sponsored projects, which they used to prove the efficiency and reliability of telemedicine, the medical community was able to slowly but surely gain full confidence in teleradiology. By the time the 1980s rolled in, several radiologists were using teleradiology systems to receive images for telemedicine consultations.

The bulkiness of early telemedicine equipment

In the early days of telemedicine, as discussed over at, all the telemedicine projects were large undertakings and required major organizational changes as well as a lot of staff to make them work. They also made use of custom-made software and hardware, with all these equipment being bulky and requiring specially trained personnel to be used. This was a feature of all of the early telemedicine projects and definitely a tip worth mentioning when discussing the history of telemedicine.

Lack of interaction between the average patient and telemedicine technology

Given the bulky nature of the telemedicine equipment in the early days, as mentioned above and discussed in detail over at, it made it impossible for the average patient to be able to directly interact with telemedicine technologies. In this era in the history of telemedicine, a telepresenter handled the equipment and was the one who interacted with the patient.

Telemedicine and the role of the internet

The internet, introduced in the 1990s, signaled a new era in the history of telemedicine as it allowed support for practically all the information and traffic needed as far as telemedicine is concerned. This, as per the gurus over at, includes patient information, real-time audio and video consultation, the transmission of vital signs and other body measurements as well as that of medical images such as X-rays and other scans.

The transition to electronic medical records

The growth of telemedicine exploded even further with the transition to electronic medical records, which was encouraged by the U.S. government through incentives as discussed over at This, coupled with the fact that the internet is now fully entrenched in American society, with many people having a mobile device like a smartphone or a tablet, as well as computers, has led to the growth of telemedicine to become what we see now.

As always, if you are looking for more information on this and other related topics, then look no further than the highly-rated