WAS THIS REVOLUTION TELEVISED?
History of TV Tech in Medicine Mined for 21st Century Lessons

Dr. Jeremy Greene says we can learn a lot from
telemedicine’s early days.
Dr. Jeremy Greene says we can learn a lot from telemedicine’s early days.

When medicine met television in the mid-20th century, the subsequent wedding was one of necessity. Medicine at the time needed TV’s technology to reach remote, underserved areas and, potentially, disenfranchised patients. It was thought to be, perhaps, the dawn of a new era in medical care.

Dr. Jeremy Greene, a history of medicine professor at Johns Hopkins University, recollected that hope recently with two vignettes he told a Natcher Conference Center audience. What we can learn from the 60-year “telemedicine” marriage, he suggested, may help us navigate the early stages of today’s med-tech relationships—medicine via mobile device (“mHealth”) or vital sign monitors (“wearables”), for example.

“There is much in the story of medical images communicated by television in the 1960s and ’70s that is of relevance to contemporary understandings of new media in medicine and health today in the 21st century,” said Greene in his lecture, “The Analog Patient: Imagining Medicine at a Distance in the Television Era.”

His talk was the keynote of the National Library of Medicine’s 2-day “Images and Texts in Medical History: Workshop in Methods, Tools & Data from the Digital Humanities.”

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TYCTWD Captivates Throngs Of Eager Kids

In a CC operating room, 7-year-old Elena,
daughter of NLM’s David Hurwitz, successfully
intubates a mock patient.
In a CC operating room, 7-year-old Elena, daughter of NLM’s David Hurwitz, successfully intubates a mock patient.

Hundreds of smiling kids descended on NIH on Apr. 28, excited to learn more about the place where their parents/guardians work. The 21st Take Your Child to Work/Earth Day featured dozens of activities both on and off campus that got kids thinking about ways to protect their health and the environment.

There were activities to stimulate all the senses. Some kids held models of hearts; others touched a preserved human brain. Some kids peered at cells through microscopes while others tried out gadgets that tested hearing and vision. Many kids and parents tasted farm-fresh cooking during an Earth Day demo. Throughout the day, the smell of curiosity was in the air.

Weeks earlier, many parents went online to register their kids for the limited-space activities, but a few of the most popular events filled up within minutes after being posted. One parent likened the process to trying to get Springsteen tickets.

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