Online Journal of Space Communication


Telecommunication technologies are being used to change the healthcare industry in unprecedented and irreversible ways. These technologies are enabling delivery of healthcare to remotely placed patients and facilitating information exchange between generalists and specialists. For many decades now, the use of advanced telecommunications and information technologies has been investigated in an effort to improve healthcare. In particular, the focus has been centered on telemedicine. Telemedicine has been defined as the delivery of healthcare and the exchange of health information across distances, including all medical activities: making diagnosis, treatment, prevention, education and research (Craig, 1999). Telemedicine is also defined as the use of telecommunication technologies to provide medical information and services (Perednia & Allen, 1995). It may be as simple as two health professionals discussing a patient's case over the telephone, or as sophisticated as using satellite technology to broadcast a consultation between healthcare centres in two countries using videoconferencing equipment. The American Telemedicine Association defines telemedicine as the use of medical information exchanged from one site to another via electronic communication for health and education of the patient or healthcare providers and for the purpose of improving patient care (ATA, 2001). Wootton (1996) considered telemedicine as a process, rather than a technology: telemedicine connects patients and healthcare professional in a chain of care.



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