Any telemedicine application should be viewed in terms of its health-care context, the clinical process it is enabling, and whether it is appropriate to apply telemedicine to that process. Telemedicine should be used as a tool to enable the transfer of clinical information which, by being transferred, will reduce clinical risks. Because managing clinical services involves knowing where clinical decisions are being made, it is important to ensure that telemedicine activity is recorded as part of the routine clinical and investigative data sets that will be kept for clinical audit and health-service costing purposes. There may be areas of health-care delivery where the telemedicine solution becomes the treatment of choice. In this event, not to provide telemedicine may be unethical and may expose a service to high clinical risk. If a service is based on the use of telemedicine, it is important to ensure that the technical specifications are adequate, that the system is sufficiently reliable, and that there are adequate back-up provisions in the case of system failure.
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