Specialist referral services typically involves of a specialist assisting a general practitioner in rendering a diagnosis. This may involve a patient "seeing" a specialist over a live, remote consult or the transmission of diagnostic images and/or video along with patient data to a specialist for viewing later. Recent surveys have shown a rapid increase in the number of specialty and subspecialty areas that have successfully used telemedicine. Radiology continues to make the greatest use of telemedicine with thousands of images "read" by remote providers each year. Other major specialty areas include: dermatology, ophthalmology, mental health, cardiology and pathology.
According to reports and studies, almost 50 different medical subspecialties have successfully used telemedicine.
• Patient consultations using telecommunications to provide medical data, which may include audio, still or live images, between a patient and a health professional for use in rendering a diagnosis and treatment plan. This might originate from a remote clinic to a physician's office using a direct transmission link or may include communicating over the Web.
• Remote patient monitoring uses devices to remotely collect and send data to a monitoring station for interpretation. Such "home telehealth" applications might include a specific vital sign, such as blood glucose or heart ECG or a variety of indicators for homebound patients. Such services can be used to supplement the use of visiting nurses.
• Medical education provides continuing medical education credits for health professionals and special medical education seminars for targeted groups in remote locations.
• Consumer medical and health information includes the use of the Internet for consumers to obtain specialized health information and on-line discussion groups to provide peer-to-peer support.

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