Date of Award

Summer 8-1996

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Community & Environmental Health

Committee Director

Joann T. Richardson

Committee Member

George Maihafer

Committee Member

E. James Baesler

Call Number for Print

Special Collections LD4331.C48 M345


Telemedicine is the use of teleconmrunications for medical diagnosis and patient care from a distance. This multimedia computer based medium serves as an aid to decision making, a means of transmission of care-related data and as a channel for collaborative care management between a provider and a patient. It is of greatest utility in remote areas, or in other cases where transportation of either provider or patient would be problematic or economically less feasible than the telemedicine alternative.

This study examined the current capabilities of the computer hardware and software necessary to implement a telemedicine system. It found that current capabilities surpass the level required to conduct telemedicine. Hence, technology development does not serve as a barrier to the implementation of telemedicine.

However, a qualitative analysis of opinions and observations of persons from relevant fields associated with telemedicine revealed reasons for the lagging development of this innovative method of medical practice. Reasons include lack of reimbursement guidelines by third-party payors, uneven distribution of long distance telephone call tariffs, and lack of governmental policy to facilitate the development of telemedicine.

In order to reduce or eliminate the barriers to implementation of telemedicine, this study recommends development, adoption and dissemination of policy by the governmental agencies responsible for insurance regulation and long-distance network regulation. It also presents a summary of opinions from persons in related fields on how best to develop this technology.


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