What is Telemedicine?  
  There are several definitions of the term. Eventually, all definitions, more or less explanatory, essentially accept that Telemedicine is the "remote performance of the medical act by information and communication technology means" (according to NASA).  
     
  Is Telemedicine necessary in Romania?  
  Yes! Several Romanian health system and environment aspects encourage the implementation of Telemedicine that help for the improvement of medical assistance by:  
 
remote and/or mobile health assistance in hard accessible, poor health-assisted areas (i.e. Danube Delta, high mountains, etc.);
remote continuous medical education;
accommodation to international health assistance standards;
remote clinical acts (i.e. telemedical "second opinion", etc.);
integrated medical databases;
implementation of applications for health protection of ill, old, disabilities affected and even healthy people;
   and so on...
 
     
  Is Telemedicine possible in Romania?  
  Yes! All the key infrastructure issues are basically solved and available: information technology support, communicational infrastructure, informatics assisted medical devices, informatics compatible medical imaging, etc. The main issue is the public and institutional awareness of the beneficial funding for the coherent use and development, in the frame of Telemedicine, of existent features and inevitable, normal, expenses.  
     
  How much does Telemedicine cost?  
  It depends! If we look at remote robotic surgery (i.e. Lindbergh surgical procedure) or at intensive, live, multipoint, videoconferencing, they could cost pretty much; even wealthy countries can't afford yet, such procedures as current.
But!... There are dozens of telemedical applications that costs as much as the ordinary Internet browsing (i.e. second medical opinion, remote integrated databases access, continuous medical education by e-learning, medical imaging transfer, remote medical data assessment, etc.).
So, every day's telemedicine is not expensive at all, and more than that, even the expensive applications, are, and tend to become more and more cost effective due to a high rate of costs, competence and infrastructure sharing.
 
     
  What is Robotic (Remote) Surgery?  
  Robotic Surgery implies mechanical, complex device interleaving between the surgeon's hand and the in situ operational field. The endoscopic surgery is the good example. When such a surgical device is remote, online controlled, and then it is robotic (remote) surgery, in the Telemedicine meaning (see "Lindbergh Operation")  
     
  What is the "Lindbergh Operation"?  
  The first true telemedical robotic surgery demonstration performed in September 2000. The surgeon in New York, USA, performed a trans-Atlantic intervention on a patient in Strasbourg, France.  
     
  What are the ethical and legal implications of the distance medical act?  
  Actually, this issue is a very sensitive one. The current situation is that the technological potential overwhelmed the established regulations and the professional community perception. The issue is under debate and the professional community endeavor for a fair ethical perception. According to the current regulations, the responsible for the medical act is the one in place at the patient's head.  
     
  What is the Sports Science connection with Telemedicine?  
  The sports science deal with human physiology, motility and psychology in normal, high performing and even extreme conditions. The sport sciences spin-offs are beneficial to maintain a good health condition as well as to medical applications as the neuro-muscular recovery, societal ones as the drug dependency prevention, etc. Many of the sports, body building, recovery and health prevention applications are at boundary between sports, sports medicine, clinical medicine and prophylactic medicine could beneficial integrate into telemedical and general biological welfare concerns.  
     
  What is GRID and what is its relation with Telemedicine?  
  GRID is, fundamentally, a high-bandwidth data communication application that looks like a computer super-network with advanced facilities for data processing, data storage, and large application sharing. The advanced Telemedicine applications are, and will be, communication, data processing and data storage intensive, at a level where only the resource sharing is the affordable solution. GRID will be, soon, a must, in Telemedicine, as in other areas of advanced research and appliance field. Let's be prepared!  
     
  Why an Excellence Center for space applications in Medicine and Human Welfare?  
  Because in Romania the competence, the projects, the local initiative in Telemedicine and related applications (virtually, all of them being space research spin-off's) proliferate. The main issues are connected with cooperation, coordination, strategic coherence and awareness increasing of the professional, public and institutional environment. The Excellence Center for Space Applications in Medicine and Human Biological Welfare do believe to contribute to the smooth overcome of some of these issues.  
     
  What is Mobile Telemedicine?  
  The "classic" telemedicine deals with remote medical acts (tele-diagnostics, tele-consulting, tele-mentoring, tele-education, etc.) putting together competences and resources of standing - usually big - medical facilities. As the societal demand challenges the health-care system to face critical, emergency situations needing fast medical response in field, the issue of integrating mobile medical assistance with the health-care system became a "must". The answer seems to be provided by mobile, autonomous, telemedicine units acting in - possibly remote and infrastructureless - areas and communicating online, medical data, to the standing medical facilities.  
     
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Fundeni Telemedicine Pilot / Medicine & Welfare Excellence Center
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