Telecommunications Advances and the Impact on Healthcare Essay

In today’s healthcare, people want more access to their doctors and their records. A lot of people don’t have time to actually sit in a hospital. So that leaves the question, how can a person stay in contact with their doctor and their information? Some say that the solution is Telemedicine. According to (Darkins & Cary, 2000) Telemedicine is the use of electronic communication and information technologies to deliver healthcare when distance separates the medical expert from the patient. It uses tools such as telephones, fax machines or computers and interactive multimedia.

Telemedicine transports medical information through telecommunication links, PC’s, imaging equipment and specialized audio and video for the treatment and diagnosis of patients. It has the ability to improve health care over far and distant locations. As the internet and the technology world begin to break new grounds. The telemedicine industry has been one step behind. Normally people would have to either speak in person with their physician or speak over the phone. With the new technology solutions such as the 4G LTE-enabled TCx-I Healthcare Access Terminal. N, PR, 2011) This is developed by BL Healthcare. They have established the first and only HD video-enabled telemedicine Ecosystem. This solution allows patients to securely receive specialized medical care in their homes, at work, in small clinics, or at nursing and assisted living homes. According to (N, PR, 2011) BL Ecosystem partners supply medical peripherals and unique care applications for disease management. Their customers can develop and sustain their intellectual property in the BL Ecosystem Patients can actually see their doctor over the Internet, no need for face to face.

They can discuss their problems, ailments and medical history. The physician can then prescribe medicine after the patient has completed a questionnaire and gone through an on-line meeting with the doctor. The doctor can also use this system to share information like x-rays, lab results and various tests with other doctors. Because this is over the internet, the doctors don’t have to know the same language as the Ecosystem can act as an interpreter. Thus bridging the language barrier. However, there are also problems associated with this.

Since the doctor never physically examines the patient, the medicine prescribed could be for a drug addict covering up their needle-tracks. (Field, 1996) Also it can act as a crutch for people who need to see a doctor face to face. This is an example of how the Internet can be misused. Nevertheless the Internet can also be used for as a server, where people can find out information about diseases or anything else in the health care profession. The Internet is an effective tool in telemedicine when used wisely. It is great for finding out information and not so great for cyber-medicine. Darkins & Cary, 2000) Michelle McClure is a Registered Nurse at Northwestern Memorial Hospital. During an interview she shared her grief from the past. As patient’s test results and labs weren’t electronic. The doctors had to literally keep a beeper and a cell phone with them at all times. Not only was this not functional, it was a huge inconvenience and caused the doctors more work on communicating rather than doing the actual medical part. If that wasn’t enough, they needed to be near a computer at all times. This brought rise to another advance in Telemedicine with the doctors.

Usually the doctors have to rely on different medias to retrieve information about a patient, lab results and correspondents dealing with the day to day. (PhD, 2011) According to Ms. McClure, they use Blackberry all in one phones to help streamline their time management and accessibility. BlackBerry mobile solutions improved their quality of care and increased ef?ciency. She says “it’s the future of clinical cooperation”. From those phones, they are able to view critical alerts from patient’s rooms as well as the hospital. Just in case there is an emergency) The Blackberry phones unite the various communications needed to function. Maintaining the highest standards of privacy compliance for the patients’ health information. This phone maintains the appropriate IT mobility policies and procedures in place. The Hospital uses the BlackBerry Enterprise Server platform. According to (Blackberry, 2011) with the BlackBerry Enterprise Server platform the hospital’s IT department can: enforce passwords, encrypt data at rest and in motion and use remote-wipe capabilities.

The doctors can look up a patient, review their labs and monitor patient’s vitals all on their phone. The technology used is truly advanced. In conclusion, we are in for a treat. The advancements of the telecommunications in healthcare can aid in the wait time of the people that are in immediate need. With technology moving forward so rapidly, another question comes to mind. Who is paying for these advancements? Is the cost of the convenience worth the money? In my opinion, it is unknown. As these technologies can very costly.

Where will the people who have no insurance lie within the Telemedicine realm. I for one would love to see a healthcare system provide these great technologies to everyone. Only time will tell. We can only continue to use these technologies and see the rises and pitfalls of our creations. According to (Field, 1996) “One thing we can learn is that technology certainly has the potential to soothe the growing pains and provide some solutions for the major challenges facing the business of health-care delivery. ”


Blackberry. (2011). We Care Home Health Services. Blackberry and Healthcare. Darkins, A. W. , & Cary, M. A. (2000). Telemedicine and telehealth: principles, policies, performance, and pitfalls. New York: Springer. Field, M. J. (1996). Telemedicine a guide to assessing telecommunications in healthcare. Washington D. C: National Academy Press. N, PR. (2011). BL Healthcare’s Next Generation of Wireless Remote Healthcare Solutions, Now on Verizon Wireless’ 4G LTE Mobile Broadband Network. PR NewsWire.