In the early 1900s, people living in remote areas of Australia used two-way radios, powered by a dynamo driven by a set of bicycle pedals, to communicate with the Royal Flying Doctor Service of Australia. -Wikipedia’s “Telemedicine” entry
I’m not sure what surprises me more: that Australians were attempting remote healthcare a hundred years ago, or that the Royal Flying Doctor Service really exists.
Medicine has changed immensely over the century, but patients and providers continue to perfect the ways in which they seek and provide healthcare from a distance. We can now see and hear one another in high definition and transmit key patient vitals across wires and through the air. Bicycle pedals were replaced with wall outlets, batteries and solar power. WIFI and cellular replaced radio, allowing us to connect ever-smaller mobile care devices to devices around the world in real time. All those years of technological evolution are leading us toward a day when the Royal Flying Doctor Service might be free to sell their airplanes.
Early innovators helped shepherd remote care to where it stands today. One notable example of early telemedicine was a 1967 partnership between Boston’s Logan International Airport and Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH). Despite the airport’s proximity to MGH, employees and travelers had difficulty accessing the hospital in emergencies due to heavy traffic. Enterprising providers determined to beat their traffic problem used a two-way audiovisual microwave circuit to see and hear over 1,000 patients.
Logan International’s miniature television studio wasn’t mobile, lacked smart diagnostic devices and was anything but high-definition, but it allowed MGH to provide more immediate care within the limits of technology.
Later, in 1989, the first interactive system for remotely diagnosing and treating cardiac emergencies telephonically went live. Things evolved rapidly from there.
Macro-level industry shifts like these have been obvious, while smaller—but equally world-changing—recent advancements in form factors aren’t common knowledge for those not intimately connected to telemedicine.
Here at GlobalMed, things have evolved steadily over 16 years. Our engineers work tirelessly to remain ahead of the game, pushing our telehealth platform into the future instead of waiting to be dragged into it. Solutions like the ClinicalAccess® Station (CAS), our all-in-one mobile telemedicine system, have evolved physically (CAS became sleeker) and internally, with faster, more intuitive workflows honed while working alongside clinicians in the field. Key peripherals like our TotalExam™ HD camera, critical in making evidence-based diagnoses from afar and weighing only four ounces, push the boundaries of virtual care technology. WallDoc® is exactly what it sounds like: a 24” x 24”, self-contained telemedicine station suitable for wall mounting.
And for the truly mobile, our Transportable Exam Station™ Extreme is a luggable clinic in a ruggedized shell. Our eNcounter software runs on a military-grade tablet included in the kit, which helps make the unit ultra-compact. Without wires, patients can be seen and diagnosed with exacting precision, using a “clinic” no larger than a carry-on.
Most recently, we rolled out a trimmer sibling to CAS, called Xpress® Station, for those with spatial and budgetary constraints.
Looking back, it’s clear remote care has come a long way, and we’re proud to be part of its history.
Like time itself, GlobalMed marches on, working to help you provide valuable care using compact, intelligent, accurate and reliable connected devices. We can’t wait to show you what we’re working on next.