Recent Directions in Telemedicine: Review of Trends in Research and Practice
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Objectives: Healthcare is now routinely delivered by telecommunications-based services in all developed countries and an increasing number of developing countries. Telemedicine is used in many clinical specialities and across numerous healthcare settings, which range from mobile patient-centric applications to complex interactions amongst clinicians in tertiary referral hospital settings. This paper discusses some recent areas of significant development and progress in the field with the purpose of identifying strong trends in both research and practice activities. Methods: To establish the breadth of new ideas and directions in the field, a review of literature was made by searching PubMed for recent publications including terms (telemedicine OR telehealth) AND (challenge OR direction OR innovation OR new OR novel OR trend), for all searchable categories. 3,433 publications were identified that have appeared since January 1, 2005 (2,172 of these since January 1, 2010), based on a search conducted on June 1, 2015. Results: The current interest areas in these papers span both synchronous telemedicine, including intensive care, emergency medicine, and mental health, and asynchronous telemedicine, including wound and burns care, dermatology and ophthalmology. Conclusions: It is concluded that two major drivers of contemporary tele medicine development are a high volume demand for a particular clinical service, and/or a high criticality of need for clinical exper tise to deliver the service. These areas offer promise for further study and enhancement of applicable telemedicine methods and have the potential for large-scale deployments internationally, which would contribute significantly to the advancement of healthcare.
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