This is a summary of an article from the latest issue of Leprosy Review. To view the whole article (PDF) click here

Telemedicine is defined by the World Health Organization as
The delivery of health care services, where distance is a critical factor, by all health care professionals using information and communication technologies for the exchange of valid information for diagnosis, treatment and prevention of disease and injuries, research and evaluation, and for the continuing education of health care providers, all in the interests of advancing the health of individuals and their communities.

Caroline A Nelson and colleagues at the University of Pennsylvania conducted a literature review, in publications between 1960 and April 2014, of applications of telemedicine and tele-education to leprosy.

Access to high quality healthcare for all people affected by leprosy is a challenge in remote areas with poor healthcare facilities, often a long journey from villages. Other barriers include a low level of literacy and poverty.

There is also a fear that expertise in leprosy will disappear if healthcare providers rarely encounter people affected by leprosy.

Telemedicine is one of a range of options for effective communication and transferring information. Store-and-forward telemedicine exchanges pre-recorded data between two or more people at different times. The real time form involves immediate exchange of data.