Telemedicine : The Exchange of Medical Information via Telecommunication to Assist Patients' Health Status

As the world rapidly continues to develop, various sectors including technology, communication and medicine also accelerate itself at the same pace. Nevertheless, some portions of the population are still living in rural isolated areas, where getting access to healthcare is a challenging task, which is why telemedicine was invented. According to the American Telemedicine Association, Telemedicine is defined as the exchange of medical information via telecommunication to assist patient’s health status (American Telemedicine Association, 2012). In this essay, dual telemedicine projects namely project Tristan and Operation Village Health will be compared along with the benefits demonstrated.
First and foremost, one of the most notable similarities between these two projects is their funding sources. It is known that Operation Village Health and Project Tristan were introduced for the sake of rural isolated population from both locations, who could not possibly run the project on their own; therefore their financial supports naturally come from local or international organizations. Operation Village Health, a telemedicine project in Cambodia, is led and supported by Partners telemedicine in collaboration with two non-profit organizations, the Sihanouk Hospital Centre of Hope and American Assistance for Cambodia (Heizelmann et al, 2005). Similarly, Project Tristan, another telemedicine project conducted in Tristan da Cunha, the most isolated neighborhood in the world, is as well budgeted by American Companies, including IBM, Beacon Equity Partners, and the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (The economist, 2008).
Furthermore, another significant similarity between these two projects is the process. Operation Village Health is made possible by the availability of internet connection provided by a Thai telecommunication company. Local clinicians are then able to sent out patient’s clinical information via email to volunteer physicians at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston and the Sihanouk Hospital Centre of Hope in Phnom Penh. Cases will be reviewed and responses of consultations and recommendations are expected to be returned within 12 hours (Heinzelmann, 2005). Similarly, Project Tristan is accessible with the assistance of a satellite-internet connection. This enables doctor to send patient’s medical documents including digitized X-rays to a 24 hours emergency medical center. Furthermore, several cardiology test monitoring and surgery, as well as video link consultations with specialists from the University of Pittsburgh are available (The economist, 2008)
Telemedicine provides numerous benefits for all the rural isolated people. It provides them not only easy access to quality healthcare services, but also save them considerable amount of time and money.

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