Definition or telemedicine (as adopted by the World Health Organization)
Telemedicine, a term coined in the 1970s, which literally means "healing at a distance" 1, signifies the use of ICT to improve patient outcomes by increasing access to care and medical information. Recognizing that there is no one definitive definition of telemedicine – a 2007 study found 104 peer-reviewed definitions of the word 2 – the World Health Organization has adopted the following broad description:
"The delivery of health care services, where distance is a critical factor, by all health care professionals using information and communication technologies for the exchange of valid information for diagnosis, treatment and prevention of disease and injuries, research and evaluation, and for the continuing education of health care providers, all in the interests of advancing the health of individuals and their communities" 3.
1 Strehle EM, Shabde N. One hundred years of telemedicine: does this new technology have a place in paediatrics? Archives of Disease in Childhood, 2006, 91(12):956–959.
2 Sood SP, et al. Differences in public and private sector adoption of telemedicine: Indian case study for sectoral adoption. Studies in Health Technology and Informatics, 2007, 130:257–268.
3 WHO. A health telematics policy in support of WHO’s Health-For-All strategy for global health development: report of the WHO group consultation on health telematics, 11–16 December, Geneva, 1997. Geneva, World Health Organization, 1998.