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Telemedicine Technologies: Information Technologies in Medicine and Telehealth by C.K. Li, A.C.M. Fong, Bernard Fong

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1

Introduction

1.1 Information Technology and Healthcare Professionals

The history of modern telemedicine goes back to the invention of the traditional telephone about a century ago. Medical advice was given by physicians over the telephone. The term telemedicine is very simply a description of supporting medical services through the use of telecommunications. ‘Tele’ is a prefix for distant, originated from ancient Greek. So, telemedicine literally translates to providing medical services over distance. Telecommunications used in medical applications can be categorized as sending medical information between a pair of transmitters and receivers. The so-called ‘medical information’ can be as simple as a doctor providing consultation to sophisticated data captured from a human body. In its most primitive form, ‘The Radio Doctor’ first appeared in the Radio News magazine (circa 1924) and is perhaps the earliest documented case of utilizing telecommunication technology for medical application. Although information technology has been used in healthcare since then, (Moore, 1975) was the first scientific literature formally addressing the application of technology in medicine that appeared.

As information technology advanced over the past decades, a wider range of healthcare services could be supported. Indeed, the types of services that can be supported is so vast that any book which makes an attempt to provide comprehensive coverage of all areas will most likely contain thousands of ...

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