Frequently Asked Questions About Telemedicine
What is Telemedicine?
Telemedicine is the use of technology to electronically exchange medical information and provide medical services to patients from a distance.
How is Telemedicine Different from Telehealth?
Telehealth often encompasses a broader definition of remote health care that doesn't always involve clinical services.
Both telemedicine and telehealth include:
How Does Telemedicine Work?
Telemedicine can involve many different methods for providing health care remotely.
Some examples of clinical telemedicine services at UPMC include:
Who Benefits from Telemedicine?
Both patients and health care providers located far from large cities or in rural areas can benefit greatly from telemedicine.
|For patients, UPMC's Telemedicine Program provides:
For health care providers, UPMC's Telemedicine Program provides:
- Timely treatment close to home
- Reduced travel time
- Access to world-class treatment
- Improved quality of care
- Specialty consults to help make decisions about care
- Input from world-class specialists without having to send patients to Pittsburgh
- Educational opportunities and mentoring
- Increased efficiency
- Improved patient outcomes
- Reduced health care costs
What Equipment Do I Need for Telemedicine?
This depends on the specialty and the method of telemedicine transmission.
- Store and forward technology — for obtaining and transmitting images to a remote site for review and consultation — requires a software system on a personal computer.
- A more in-depth visit using videoconferencing generally uses a secure system with a high-speed internet connection.
- The patient site uses a telemedicine practitioner’s cart for videoconferencing, which you purchase as one unit and includes the:
- There are many peripheral instruments which can be attached to the practitioner's cart that can assist in an interactive examination, such as:
- Digital stethoscope
- Total exam camera
Many hospitals throughout Pennsylvania already have store and forward image transfer capabilities and real-time videoconferencing systems that allow them to collaborate with UPMC specialists.
Will Patients Still Need to See a Specialist in Person?
Possibly, but the ultimate goal of telemedicine is to allow patients to receive care close to home, rather than care that requires long-distance travel.