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Definition: telemedicine


("long distance" medicine) Telemedicine refers to any diagnosis or medical procedure performed via a video call. The term was first used in the mid-1990s between rural healthcare facilities and medical centers, whereby a specialist monitors the patient remotely and takes cues from the general practitioner or nurse who is actually examining the patient. A patient's blood can be placed under a microscope in the remote facility and transmitted for examination.

Telemedicine Has Become Mainstream
Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, telemedicine has flourished in place of routine doctor visits as well as a way to help determine if a patient's symptoms are likely due to the virus. See telehealth, telesurgery and robotic surgery.




Telemedicine's "FRED"
The Friendly Rollabout Engineered for Doctors was one of the first telemedicine units that helped specialists collaborate worldwide. The handheld camera (top right) was used for close-ups. (Image courtesy of VTEL Corporation.)