Since the emergence of telegraph and telephone technologies in the 19th Century, doctors have been communicating and consulting with each other over long distances. Telemedicine, as distance healing was first highlighted in 1970, when Thomas Bird wrote about patient care in which physicians were able to examine their patients by using telecommunication technologies. In short, telemedicine can simply involve two health professionals discussing a case over the telephone, or be as sophisticated as using the satellite technology to broadcast a consultation between providers at facilities in two countries, using video conferencing equip men. Telemedicine has the potential to reduce differences in the lives of people, especially those living in remote areas, away from hospitals and thus deprived of quality and timely medical care. The main role of telemedicine is to provide rapid access to experienced health care professionals at a distance using telecommunications and information technologies, no matter where the patient is located. The spectrum of technology used in telemedicine is broad, ranging from simple phone, faxes and emails, to satellite-based relay transfers and state-of-the-art computer and videoconferencing facilities. We divide video communication in telemedicine into videoconferencing and telepresence. Video-conferencing (VC) is defined as a real-time, live, interactive program in which one set of participants are at one or more locations and the other set of participants are at another location. VC permits interaction, including audio and/or video, and possibly other modalities, between at least two sites. Using VC, technical requirements regarding quality are not usually very demanding. Telepresence, on the other hand, widens the purpose of practice beyond pure communication and has clear requirements, mainly concerning the quality and control of the picture as well as time latency. Surgery has entered the computer age with the advent of video laparoscopy. Magnified and computer-enhanced video image provided surgeons with better exposure and visualization of the abdomen. However, a decade after the launch of the new technology it is still poorly accepted. Most laparoscopic procedures are difficult to teach and learn, in addition, the learning curve is very flat. Obvious weaknesses of new technology are: unstable camera platforms, limited motion of straight laparoscopic instruments, two-dimensional imaging and poor ergonomics for the surgeon. Since the introduction of video laparoscopic cholecystectomy, surgeons have speculated that computers, 3-D imaging, and robotics could overcome these pitfalls of laparoscopy.
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