Background: Telemedicine is a new way of delivering health care to people, particularly in remote areas. The UK has experienced a surge of telematic projects in recent years. However, there is little information available in the literature regarding the past and present of telemedicine in the UK.
Objectives: To evaluate the state of telemedicine in the UK.
Methods: All the projects that took place in UK since 1991 were considered for the study and evaluated according to the population and area served.
Results: A total of 216 projects were identified. The number of projects was highest in England (172). Emergency medicine, medical specialties, and educational projects received most consideration (9.7% each). With the exception of Wales, the number of projects increased steadily with time. The projects, when correlated in accordance with the area (per 10000 sq km) and population (per million), were found to be highest in England (49.5%) and Northern Ireland (36.2%) respectively. No dedicated educational project took place in Scotland, Northern Ireland, and Wales.
Conclusions: The UK embraced telemedicine in the early 1990s and the overall growth had been steady. Scotland, in spite of being the most likely beneficiary in UK, has lagged behind in telemedicine schemes and merits more projects. The issue of tele-education needs urgent review. Multisite trials and a combined approach involving the government, health professionals, technologists, and patients' representatives would facilitate such developments and help widen the application of telemedicine.