BMJ 2005; 331 doi: (Published 17 November 2005) Cite this as: BMJ 2005;331:1185
  1. Jurgen A H R Claassen (, consultant geriatrician
  1. department of geriatric medicine, Radboud University Medical Centre, Nijmegen, Netherlands

    In the past, doctors had to see a patient before they could make a diagnosis. Doctors were also restricted in whom they could tell about this diagnosis—the patient and his or her trusted next of kin, the nurse, and perhaps the odd interested colleague. Recent advances in technology first brought us telemedicine, where doctors can assist other doctors in making a diagnosis, guide surgical procedures, or even perform surgery themselves, without being physically near the patient.

    More recently, we have seen tellymedicine. This enables us to make a diagnosis in patients for whom we have no responsibility. We don't need to examine them, nor do we need …

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