During the 1900s, and in one of the earliest versions of this practice, Australians in remote areas used two-way radios powered by a bicycle-pedal dynamo to communicate with physicians in the Royal Flying Doctor Service of Australia. Similarly, Africans would send smoke signals to warn people to stay away if a serious illness or outbreak occurred. In the modern United States, the Internet, videos, phones, cameras and remote monitoring systems are just some of the tools used within the field telehealth.
Telehealth encompasses both clinical and nonclinical services and uses various communication devices such as telephones, email systems and remote patient monitoring devices to consult, diagnose and supervise patients remotely. According to a study conducted by Penn Schoen Berland, 89 percent of healthcare decision-makers are predicting that telemedicine will reshape treatment.
Telehealth services work by a matter of three components: a distant or hub site, an originating site and the store-and-forward.
The hub site is the location of the physician or the licensed healthcare provider during the time of the telehealth service. The originating site, on the other hand, is the location of the patient receiving service remotely. Physicians then conduct consultations from the hub site by transferring data with a camera and forwarding them to the originating site. Medical data such as images and biosignals are sent to the physician through the store-and-forward method, which simply means the data is transferred electronically to the doctor's location, where it can be assessed offline at a later time.
Dermatology, radiology and pathology are the medical practices best-suited for teleservices because they don't require the presence of both parties at the same time.