Telemedicine is defined as
the delivery of health care and sharing of medical knowledge over a
distance using telecommunications systems. Although the telephone is
certainly the oldest such system, the term telemedicine is
usually applied to telecommunications systems of more recent origin:
interactive televideo, "store-and-forward" image and medical record
transmission via personal computers, and remote monitoring. Two
technological developments in the early 1990s have led to a surge in
interest in telemedicine. One is the increasing deployment of
high-speed, high-bandwidth telecommunications systems around the world.
The second development is the invention of devices capable of capturing
and transmitting images and other data in digital form.1
While the costs for the hardware, software, and signal transmission are
high, they are declining significantly each year. Interactive video
equipment that cost more than $100,000 in 1992 can today be
purchased for less than $20,000—and today's equipment has more
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