Telehealth, Telemedicine and the Virtual Health Sciences Librarian
Literally, telemedicine means the practice of medicine across distance. In 1977, Bashshur and Lovett devined telemedicine as the applicaiton of telecommunications and information technologies to medicine, in order to provide medical services across distances without the usual face-to-face, physician-to-patien encounter.1 Allen continues, "Some would include the use of fax machines adn telephones...whereas others would limit the scope of telemedicine to interactive video medical consultations."2
For the purpose of this article, Telemedicine will be defined as interactive medical consultations. Telehealth will be used as a more comprehensive term, encompassing the delivery of educational programs, collaborative research, meetings, patient consultations, and other services provided with the purpose of improving health.