Telemedicine is an emerging scientific field. Until just recently, it was only found in select health care facilities equipped with expensive devices dedicated to specific applications. New telemedicine solutions are gradually revolutionizing the medical services market.
At the beginning of the new millennium, although there were computer programs for creating medical records, Internet connections were low bandwidth and not widely available. A remote examination required expensive computers, cameras and sensors. In developed countries, Internet access rarely exceeded 20 percent of the population. In Poland, it was only 17 percent (Poles on the Web. Analysis of transformations in Internet use., Wyd. UMCS, Lublin 2019), while in 2004 it was only up to 26% (CSO Survey “Information Society in Poland,” Warsaw 2008).
Remote consultation in 2001.
A general practitioner in Taupo, New Zealand, consulting with a dermatologist in Hamilton, about 160 km away. A computer allows real-time video conferencing. The doctor uses a digital camera to show close-ups of skin lesions.
Less than two decades ago, telemedicine was limited to live video between centers performing complex surgeries. This allowed part of the operating team to consult online in real time about the operation.
It wasn’t until widespread adoption of both Internet access and mobile devices that the market for medical services was revolutionized, allowing the patient to actively participate in their own treatment.
Today, telemedicine is an extremely forward-looking field. Widespread Internet access, the ubiquity of smartphones and cloud storage make fecund conditions for new solutions.
Practical telemedicine applications
Many areas of medical diagnostics today rely on photographs or charts. Thanks to improvements in the availability of data storage space and the ever-improving quality of cameras in phones, diagnostic photos can be taken by virtually anyone, including patients. Photos and technical images (including CT scans) are then processed using AI. Increasingly, diagnostics using algorithms are even more accurate than the eye of an experienced radiologist, such as in the analysis of brain X-rays.