Handbook of Health Communication

By Teresa L. Thompson; Alicia M. Dorsey et al. | Go to book overview

23
Telemedicine: Expanding
Health Care into Virtual
Environments
Jeanine Warisse Turner
Georgetown University

Scenario A: A primary care physician practicing in a rural area is concerned about an irregular mole on her patient's skin. Using an interactive videoconferencing system, the physician connects to a dermatologist located at an academic medical center 200 miles away and asks the specialist to take a look at the patient's condition.

Scenario B: A nurse in a dialysis unit moves a video monitor from bed to bed so that a nephrologist 50 miles away can consult with patients regarding their dialysis regimen.

Scenario C: An emergency room in a rural clinic connects via videoconferencing equipment to an academic medical center emergency room to help triage a car accident victim who needs to be anesthetized.

Scenario D: A heart surgery patient connects via computer at 3:00 A. M. to e-mail a nurse station concerning a medication dosage question. At 3:30 A. M. the patient receives an answer.

Scenario E: A surgeon in Hawaii performs an orthoscopic surgery on a patient while being coached through the procedure via videoconference by an orthopedic specialist from Cleveland's Mayo Clinic.

Each of these scenarios, though not at all exhaustive, provides an example of health care practitioners using telemedicine technology to alleviate the constraints imposed by distance and time. Debakey (1995) argued that telemedicine, or the use of telecommunications technologies within the field of health care, has the potential for having a greater impact on the future of medicine than any other modality. This transformation of the doctor and patient environment provides a new and interesting context for health communication scholars. Removing the immediacy of face-to-face, in-the-same-room encounters has the potential to influence the relationships between health care practitioners, health care organizations, and practitioners and patients. Although telemedicine holds much promise for addressing cost and access concerns, new ways of practicing medicine within this virtual


REFERENCES

Allen, A. (1998/1999). Telemedicine—a Global perspective. European Telemedicine, 13–15.

Allen, A., & Grigsby, B. (1998). Fifth annual program survey: Part 2–Consultation activity in 35 specialties. Telemedicine Today, 6 (5), 18–19.

Allen, A., & Hayes, J. (1994). Patient satisfaction with telemedicine in a rural clinic. American Journal of Public Health, 84, 1993.

AmericasDoctor.com. (2000, August). [Online]. Available:http://www. AmericasDoctor.com.

Anderson, J. (1999). The business of cyberhealth care. MDComputing, 16 (6), 23–25.

Baer, L., Cukor, P., Jenike, M., Leahy, L., O'Laughlen, J., & Coyle, J. T. (1995). Pilot studies of telemedicine for patients with obsessive-compulsive disorder. American Journal of Psychiatry, 152, 1383–1385.

Balas, E. A., Jaffrey, F., Kuperman, G., Boren, S., Brown, G., Pinciroli, F., & Mitchell, J. (1997). Electronic communication with patients: Evaluation of distance medicine technology. Journal of the American Medical Association, 278, 152–159.

Barley, S. (1986). Technology as an occasion for structuring: Evidence from observations of CT scanners and the social order of radiology departments. Administrative Science Quarterly, 31, 78–108.

Barley, S. (1990). Images of imaging. Organization Science, 1 (3), 220–247.

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