History of Medicine


An Open Access Journal

The use of telemedicine in radiodiagnosis in the 1920–1980s

Sergey P. Morozov1, Anton V. Vladzymyrsky1
1 Research and Practical Clinical Center of Diagnostics and Telemedicine Technologies
28 Srednyaya Kalitnikovskaya St., building 1, Moscow 109029, Russia
In 2017, amendments to the Federal legislation on health care were adopted, which confirmed the possibility of using telemedicine technologies within the health care system of the Russian Federation. Telemedicine has been successfully used for about 150 years. Since the advent of the first electronic telecommunications, the possibilities for their medical use have been sought. This article

systematises information about the history of the use of telecommunications for remote interaction in radiology and presents the way from experiments on facsimile transfer of radiographic images (the 1920–1930s) to the establishment of the teleradiology concept as a tool for solving diagnostic and organisational/managerial problems of radiology (the late 1970s). The first experiments on the remote transmission of photographic copies of X-ray images by telegraph were conducted in the mid-1920s. The first interhospital network for the exchange of medical images was launched in Canada in 1957 – a successful exchange of fluoroscopic images to improve diagnostics took place in Montreal between two hospitals. In the 1940–1960s, under J. Gershon-Cohen’s supervision,

several teleradiological networks ensuring the transmission of photographic copies of X-ray images for remote interpretation were launched in the United States. For the first time ever, methodological foundations of teleradiology were formulated as a tool for organising and managing public health care. The term “teleradiology” was introduced by W.S. Andrus and T.K. Bird in 1972.

The same researchers carried out the first scientific assessment of the diagnostic accuracy of remote interpretation of the results of radiographic examinations. In the late 1960–1970s, television systems (cable, slow-scan, etc.) were used to broadcast medical images, and their complexity and high cost were hampering the advancement of teleradiology. However, by the early 1980s, it was convincingly shown that teleradiology significantly expanded the capabilities of health care systems, sped up diagnosis and optimised hospital resources and staff time.

Keywords: history of medicine, radiology, telemedicine, teleradiology, roentgenography


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