Telemedicine in critical care: an experiment in health care delivery

JACEP. 1977 Oct;6(10):439-44. doi: 10.1016/s0361-1124(77)80239-6.


We hypothesized that telemedicine -- medicine practiced from a distance using telecommunications -- can solve some problems related to the scarcity and maldistribution of specialists in critical care medicine. Using a two-way audiovisual link between a small private hospital and a large university medical center, we have provided daily consultations by an intensivist to patients in the small institution. During the first 175 days of the project we found: 1) regular consultations in critical care can be provided using the audiovisual link; 2) current technology is adequate but expensive; 3) telemedicine consultations can be made acceptable to users and providers; 4) telemedicine can be a valuable educational resource; 5) telemedicine can influence the process and probably the outcome of patient care; 6) the audiovisual link is superior to the telephone for these consultations; and 7) telemedicine can serve as an important link between a small hospital and a large medical center favorably influencing the quality of care in the critical care unit of the small hospital.

MeSH terms

  • Audiovisual Aids
  • Critical Care*
  • Delivery of Health Care*
  • Humans
  • Medicine
  • Ohio
  • Quality of Health Care
  • Referral and Consultation
  • Specialization
  • Telecommunications*
  • Telephone