What is telemedicine and how does it work?

13 December 2021

From online medical consultations to the teleassistance, from medical examinations directly in the pharmacy to remote monitoring of the vital parameters of the patients.
There are several areas of application of telemedicine, but what does it really consist in and what are its advantages?
Let’s find out the reason why telemedicine is so vital for the future of healthcare.

Definition of telemedicine
As defined by the ministerial guidelines, Telemedicine means “a method of providing health services, through the usage of innovative technologies, especially the Information and Communication Technologies (ICT), when the health practictioner and the patient (or two health professionals) are not in the same place” (1).
Telemedicine therefore provides a remote medical service, giving the patient the possibility of not going directly to health facilities.
We need to point out that telemedicine does not replace the doctor in the flesh, neither the doctor – patient relationship. Indeed, it aims to integrate traditional healthcare services, improving their effectiveness and providing support to the national health system, facilitating the access to its services.

Telemedicine application areas / different types of telemedicine
Telemedicine services can be classified into the following categories (1):
• Remote or televisits: where the doctor visits the patient remotely using web applications;

• Teleconsultations: it is a remote consulting activity among doctors; this type of telemedicine allows a doctor to ask for the advice of one or more doctors on diagnoses, prescriptions and treatment for a particular patient;

• Telemonitoring and remote reporting: telemonitoring is a medical service that allows to monitor and acquire certain vital parameters of the patient directly from home thanks to the usage of innovative technological devices that are set up and arranged in advance by the doctor or the pharmacist (such as the blood pressure holter that is useful for monitoring blood pressure in 24 hours). The detected parameters are automatically transmitted to an operations center and shared with medical specialists, who, after analyzing the parameters, draw up the reports of the medical examinations carried out at the pharmacy or at home and send them directly to the patient or the pharmacist;
Telemedicine is a valuable innovation that improves the health and quality of the patients’ life (especially of those who suffer from chronic diseases) and reduces both the overcrowding of hospitals and the waiting times for the booking and the reporting of an examination.

If you want to find out more about the remote reporting services that you can carry out directly at the pharmacy or comfortably from home, visit our page

• Health telecooperation: it refers to the assistance provided by a doctor or a healthcare professional to another doctor or other healthcare professional busy with a medical treatment or even during an emergency

The advantages of telemedicine
Telemedicine has manifold advantages, such as ensuring equity in the access to healthcare services, improving communication among the members of a healthcare team, supporting the patient in undergoing therapies and providing support in emergency services (2).
Here below are the main advantages:
• Spreading a wider culture of prevention and supporting the chronic patients: chronic diseases cover a broad spectrum of diseases such as respiratory diseases, hypertension, diabetes, etc. When these pathologies occur, telemedicine plays a fundamental role in guaranteeing continuity of healthcare treatment and, in some cases, a prompt intervention;

• Providing equity in the access to healthcare services: telemedicine facilitates the access to healthcare services in remote and rural areas (for example in small islands, mountains or areas with little connection to cities) and encourages the access to healthcare services for people with reduce mobility;

• Improving the quality of healthcare by ensuring continuity of treatment: thanks to remote reporting, the patient can enjoy a medical service directly from home, without the need for the doctor to leave his/her office and without the need for the patient to go directly to the medical clinic;


• Enhancing local medicine by limiting the overload of hospital facilities: for example, the possibility of carrying out examinations directly at the pharmacy permits to reduce overcrowding in hospitals and the waiting times for booking an examination. Moreover, telemedicine supports the communication between the doctor and the patient: it reduces the need for hospitalization, giving the possibility of monitoring the patients remotely, while obtaining information about their health in a timely manner

How to carry out the examinations at the pharmacy
As already mentioned, some telemedicine services can be carried out directly at the pharmacy you trust.
For example, ActiveAction provides the following telemedicine services: electrocardiogram, cardiac holter, spirometry, blood pressure monitoring and sleep monitoring. But how are these exams carried out at the pharmacy and how do they work?
Just go to the nearest pharmacy, ask to carry out the examination and come back to collect the report drawn up and signed by the medical specialists.
Let’s make a practical example of the usage of telemedicine in the pharmacy:
• The patient needs to carry out a cardiac holter to check if there are suspected arrhythmias and to rule out or confirm any heart disease;
Considering the long waiting times in hospitals, the patient will go to the pharmacy closest to his/her home and ask for a cardiac holter examination;
• The pharmacist will install and set up the device that will continuously monitor the electrical activity of the patient’s heart for one to three days;
Back home, the patient will be able to carry out his/her normal daily activities;
• At the end of the monitoring period, after 24 or 72 hours, the patient will come back to the pharmacy to deliver the device and pick up the cardiac holter report, which will have been drawn up and signed by the specialist cardiologists

If you need to receive further information about this service, do not hesitate to contact us. We will give you any useful information you desire.
Meanwhile, we invite you to consult the list of the exams that you can carry out directly at the pharmacy or comfortably from home through our online shop.


[1] Telemedicina Linee di indirizzo nazionali – Ministero della Salute (Marzo 14, 2014)
[2] Telehealth: The advantages and disadvantages - Harvard health publishing ( Ottobre 12, 2020)

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