In New Zealand the most common types of telemedicine are video consultations and ‘store and forward’.
There is usually direct patient involvement in videoconferencing. Sometimes the patient may not be present, but still be the focus of the consultation, for example, multidisciplinary meetings and case conferences.
On a videoconference, the distant clinician receives a great deal of visual information about them and their surroundings (compared to say, a telephone consultation). It is also easier for a number of people to be involved at each site during a videoconference, than it is via a telephone consultation.
Telemedicine videoconferencing includes:
- remote consultations – for example, between a rural patient or a patient in a rest home and a specialist in an urban hospital
- triage – for example, a GP consulting with a hospital on whether a patient should be admitted
- multidisciplinary meetings, for example, a number of health professionals situated in different locations using video conferencing to discuss a treatment plan for a shared patient
- remote expert peer support, for example, a doctor in a rural hospital being supervised by a doctor in a larger regional hospital. Or an emergency department in a remote hospital connecting with the emergency department of a larger hospital to discuss care for a patient
- education, for example, online training workshops delivered between sites using video conferencing.