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Visioning technology for the future of telehealth.

Brennan DM, Holtz BE, Chumbler NR, Kobb R, Rabinowitz T. Visioning technology for the future of telehealth. Telemedicine journal and e-health : the official journal of the American Telemedicine Association. 2008 Nov 1; 14(9):982-5.

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By its very nature, telehealth relies on technology. Throughout history, as new technologies emerged and afforded people the ability to send information across distances, it was not long before this capability was applied to the most basic need of all: maintaining health. While much of the early work in telehealth was driven by technology (e.g., making opportunistic use of the systems and devices that were available at the time), recent trends are beginning to push the demand for and the development of new technologies specific to the individual needs of telehealth applications. The future of telehealth will benefit greatly from this technology innovation, in particular, in areas such as home telehealth and remote monitoring, e-health and patient portal applications, personal health records, interactive Internet technologies, and robotics. Telehealth, while not a panacea for all of the challenges facing modern healthcare systems, has a substantial and ever-expanding potential to revolutionize the ways in which people receive medical care while offering the possibility to contain costs, manage chronic diseases, and prevent secondary complications. By demanding innovative solutions and speaking out in support of the field, the telehealth community can and should be leading the charge for greater attention to human factors in technology development, interoperable medical records, staff training and competencies, standards and guidelines, and support for expanded telehealth coverage at the national, state, and local levels.

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