Video conference is a computer technology that allows people to see and hear each other, exchange data and process them together interactively
To organize a video conference between two points, you need:
- video conferencing terminal at each of the points. This may be a standalone device or a computer with appropriate software and, possibly, a special board;
- an appropriate network for connecting points, usually over IP or ISDN.
Studies have shown that if the interlocutors not only hear, but also see each other, follow the gestures and facial expressions of the interlocutor, then the efficiency of information transfer increases sharply. This allows you to use video conferencing for important meetings of the central office with branches, for distance learning, telemedicine, in the judicial system, in military affairs, etc.
For the organization of video conferencing with the full participation of several parties (more than two), special devices for multipoint video conferencing are required. They are usually called the MCU (Multipoint Conference Unit).
More and more innovative solutions are being introduced into medicine. One of them is video conferencing. With the help of these systems, a new direction has now emerged, which is called telemedicine. Its most important advantage is the ability to provide highly qualified medical care to the best specialists from leading medical centers of the country.
The development of telemedicine is a very important area for our country. Also, the great advantage of telemedicine can be considered that it removes the issue of isolation of doctors from remote small towns. Thanks to her, doctors can obtain new knowledge and experience during the consultation process, they can also attend video lectures, observe the progress of the operation by experienced specialists, being at that moment, for hundreds and thousands of kilometers.
There are several areas of telemedicine:
Such consultations are conducted online using communication channels and video equipment. Communication takes place directly between the specialist and the attending physician, if necessary, the patient is also present. Such consultations can take place both between two subscribers, and between several.
The biggest pluses of videoconferencing in medicine are urgency and low cost. According to some reports, remote video consultation is about 20 times cheaper than a patient’s trip from the Urals to Moscow, for Yakutia and Transbaikalia – 40 times (if the patient needs to be accompanied by a medical worker, the cost of the trip doubles). Depending on the distance between points, the ratio of these costs can be up to 50 times in favor of telemedicine.
Telemedicine systems allow you to organize a dialogue with an expert doctor (video conference) at any distance and transmit almost all the medical information necessary for a qualified conclusion (extracts from the medical history, radiographs, computer tomograms, ultrasound images, etc.).
Conducting telemedicine lectures, seminars, conferences
When using video conferencing, lecturers have the opportunity to transfer not only theoretical, but also practical knowledge, as well as give a lecture at the same time for students from different regions. Telemedicine also allows you to broadcast the operation online. This technology can also be used for “tele-mentoring”, when a more experienced doctor can remotely monitor the actions of his less experienced colleagues in real time.
Telemedicine Dynamic Surveillance Systems
These systems are used to monitor patients suffering from chronic diseases. The same systems can be used at industrial facilities to monitor the health status of workers (for example, operators at nuclear power plants).
A promising direction in the development of remote biomonitoring is the integration of sensors in clothes, various accessories, and mobile phones.
Perspectives of Development of Telemedicine
Promising areas of telemedicine include telesurgery and remote examination.
Significant is the active impact on the body of a patient specialist who is at a distance. Currently, it is developing in two directions: remote control of medical diagnostic equipment and remote medical treatment, surgical operations based on the use of remotely controlled robotics.
Of course, this direction makes the highest demands on all elements of the telemedicine complex, especially on the reliability and quality of telecommunications. Currently, some remote control options are already in practice.
Such a direction as telesurgery is at the stage of experimental development. It involves the use of telecontrolled manipulators and remote control directly during operations (control of a scalpel, laser, etc.).
The most responsible and difficult direction from the point of view of implementation is currently a purely experimental technique, the introduction of which into practice requires the implementation of many technological innovations.