Telemedicine is a rapidly developing application of clinical medicine where medical information is transferred via telephone, the Internet or other networks for the purpose of consulting, and sometimes remote medical procedures or examinations.
Telemedicine may be as simple as two health professionals discussing a case over the telephone, or as complex as using satellite technology and video-conferencing equipment to conduct a real-time consultation between medical specialists in two different countries. Telemedicine generally refers to the use of communications and information technologies for the delivery of clinical care.
Telemedicine is practiced on the basis of two concepts: real time (synchronous) and store-and-forward (asynchronous).
Real time telemedicine could be as simple as a telephone call or as complex as robotic surgery. It requires the presence of both parties at the same time and a communications link between them that allows a real-time interaction to take place. Video-conferencing equipment is one of the most common forms of technologies used in synchronous telemedicine. There are also peripheral devices which can be attached to computers or the video-conferencing equipment which can aid in an interactive examination.