Technology and medicine seem to have finally come to a union. Historically, medicine advanced at an amazing pace with breakthroughs over the last half-century that render previous eras of medicine practically barbaric. Technology has grown and interfaced with every aspect of our lives and yet medicine seemed resistant. Those barriers appear to finally, although slower than some would like, is being broken. This special edition looks at telemedicine today and how it now impacts our current medical system. As we read the articles in this edition, allow me to give you a brief history.
Early telemedicine, or as I have come to term it “telemedicine 1.0”, dates as far back as the early 1900s with the first transmission of the EKG by William Einthoven in 1905. Telemedicine 2.0 begins to show the gap between medicine and technology narrowing. Telemedicine 3.0 is in full motion and ready for the development of version 4.0.
Today CMS defines telemedicine as the use of medical Information exchanged from one site to another via electronic communications to improve a patient’s clinical health status. This includes a growing variety of applications and services using two-way video, email, smartphones, wireless tools and other forms of telecommunications. CMS: Interactive telecommunications that at a minimum include audio and video equipment in a synchronous manner. The tools include robots, iPad, smart glasses, and phones. The connection is both via hardwire and Wi-Fi. This is an exciting period for both medicine and technology and each can stimulate the other to innovate. Telemedicine is poised to help deliver healthcare globally.