Sudeep Kumar Mandal

Assistant Professor - Faculty of Pharmacy
Kalinga University, Naya Raipur

The delivery of healthcare and the exchange of healthcare information over long distances are referred to as telemedicine. It isn’t a new discipline of medicine or new technology. The contact between the client and the expert (i.e. real-time or pre-recorded) and the sort of information being delivered are two factors that can be used to classify telemedicine episodes (e.g. text, audio, and video). Telemedicine should be explored in two situations: (1) when there is no other option (for example, in crises in remote areas), and (2) when it is superior to existing traditional services (e.g. teleradiology for rural hospitals). Telemedicine, for example, is predicted to increase access to health care, as well as the quality and efficiency with which it is given.

The term ‘tele’ comes from the Greek for ‘at a distance,’ so telemedicine is essentially medicine delivered over the internet. As such, it involves the full range of medical activities, including disease diagnosis, treatment, and prevention, as well as health-care provider and consumer continuing education, research, and assessment. A related phrase is telecare, which refers to the provision of nursing and community support to a patient from a distance. Similarly, telehealth refers to remote delivery of public health services to those who are not necessarily ill but want to remain healthy and independent. In practice, despite continuous debates about what defines telemedicine, telecare, and telehealth, and how they differ, they all entail the transfer of health-related information between one or more places to improve the health of individuals and communities.

Telemedicine is not a technology, a new discipline of medicine, or even a new branch of medicine. It is also neither a panacea that will solve the entire world’s health-related issues nor a way to replace healthcare employees. It is also not an activity for antiquarians or Luddites, who vary from those who are merely uncomfortable with the use of electronic machinery to those who believe that telemedicine threatens the entire fabric of medical treatment and should be actively opposed as a result. It is not, however, just the domain of ‘computer nerds’ or ‘technophiles.’

This group’s proclivity for focusing on the technical rather than the practical aspects of telemedicine may explain why some clinicians are wary of using it to practice medicine. Sensible, practical presentations by those with actual telemedicine experience have the potential to persuade health-care workers who believe telemedicine is not for them, either because it is ‘gimmicky,’ industry-driven, and thus ‘less than respectable,’ or unfathomable. Finally, and perhaps most importantly, telemedicine is still in its infancy as a field, with more work ahead of it to establish its place in healthcare delivery.

Telemedicine is undeniably useful in certain circumstances. However, governments and healthcare organizations will not be able to make the transition to a world where telemedicine is used to its full potential unless they adopt measures to stimulate its development.


  • World Health Organization. Health-for-all Policy for the 21st Century, HQ (document EB101/8). Geneva: WHO, 1997
  • World Health Organization. A Health Telematics Policy (document DGO/98.1). Geneva: WHO, 1998
  • NHS Executive. Information for Health: An Information Strategy for the Modern NHS. London: The Stationery Office, 1998
  • CEC DG XIII. Research and Technology Development on Telematics Systems in Health Care AIM 1993. Annual Technical Report on RTD: Health Care. Brussels, 1993
  • Amenta F, Rizzo N. Maritime radio medical services. In: Wootton R, ed. European Telemedicine 1998/99. London: Kensington Publications, 1999:125–6.

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