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Rigby M, Roberts R, Thick M, eds. (£35.00.) Radcliffe Medical Press, 2000. ISBN 1 85775 344 5.
This book is a collection of vignettes divided into 17 chapters addressing issues of telemedicine. The book draws from a wide authorship, principally from the UK and Scandinavia. The evolution of telemedicine and the issues it raises are discussed. There is a strong emphasis given to important medicolegal points, and the impact on health care is evaluated by workers who have developed and now practise telemedicine, mainly from a Scandinavian perspective.
Unfortunately, the book has suffered from a lack of editorial attention, with the result that several of the points are duplicated and there is a sense that the chapters are disarticulated. In addition, the book gives only scant mention to equipment purchase and the practical mechanics of setting up a telemedicine system. There is also little attention given to telepathology.
A lack of photographic illustrations aggravates the lack of readability. A smiling health worker on a television screen and a patient having a video assisted ear examination are the only highlights.
In summary, although the book draws together important concepts surrounding telemedicine and telematics, there is very little of interest here to pathologists. If asked whether I would take the book on my desert island to assist with establishing a telepathology service, my answer would be “no”.
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