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Definition: telemedicine

("long distance" medicine) Telemedicine may refer to any diagnosis or medical procedure performed over a communications link; however, the term was first used for videoconferencing links between rural healthcare facilities and medical centers. A specialist monitors the patient remotely taking 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. See telehealth, telesurgery and robotic surgery.

Telemedicine's "FRED"
In the mid-1990s, 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.)