Telemedicine – Past

The concept of telemedicine is not new. The ability to practice medicine when the expert and the patient are separated by distance.

One of the earliest telemedicine trials was in the summer of 1967 when Massachusetts General Hospital set up two TV cameras at Logan airport to examine patients and avoid the traffic which could make the 3.5-mile trip take up to two hours. The Telemedicine Spacebridge, a satellite-mediated, audio-video-fax link between four United States and two Armenian and Russian medical centers, permitted remote American consultants to assist Armenian and Russian physicians in the management of medical problems following the December 1988 earthquake in Armenia and the June 1989 gas explosion near UFA.

I personally participated in telemedicine trials in the early 1990s with NYNEX Corporation and four Boston Teaching Hospitals. In 1993, the American Telemedicine Association was established to promote access to medical care for consumers and health professionals via telecommunications technology (alternatively referred to as telemedicine, telehealth or eHealth).

In the year 2000 Nighthawk Radiology Services was formed as the first commercial teleradiology services. Reading Centers were set up in Australia and Switzerland so the U.S. board certified doctors could support nighttime emergency room radiology needs working during the day at new reading centers.