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According to one of the numerous definitions of telemedicine "providing medicine at a distance" any doctor being trained in the use of some telematic devices could effort that practice. The reality is far from this because, to assure a safe practice, people have to learn and bear a minimum understanding of a wide range of topics: from economics to telecommunications and from medicine to legal aspects Technology learning is not limited to technology itself but linked to its social practical consequences in all their aspects. To guarantee that none of the aspects related with telemedicine are missed, this minimum knowledge has to be fixed, organised and in some way standardised.
The main purpose of this book is to structure the basic knowledge linked to teaching to provide or practising telemedicine as well as an overview of the technology developments linked to this new discipline.
As expressed in the title, the book is precisely structured as a "handbook" ( the only existing one ) whose main value is the joint opinion of all the participating authors of what are the minimum teaching requirements for anyone that would like to learn telemedicine. It is not a full treatise nor a complete recollection of all telemedicine applications or telemedicine basics. It was built with the aim of creating awareness to the academic authorities and health care community representatives on the fact that telemedicine practices in any of their aspects (technology development, telecommunications approach, law and regulations, medical practice), require a minimum knowledge that has to be respected in order to guarantee safe and appropriate medical practice.
Nowadays this fact is enhanced by the evidence that welfare expenses cannot be endlessly increased, whilst an efficient health provision system in the context of the information society, will mark a new trend to configure health care practice in the next century. If training and teaching schemes are to cope with the demands of society it seems obvious that those careers and professions that are purvey to the Body of Knowledge BoK of telemedicine should consider structured and sufficient training in telemedicine.