Telemedicine via satellite has reached a level of maturity and robustness which has allowed it to be used successfully for the provision of diagnostic and treatment advice to underserved rural communities in, for instance, developing countries. India has a considerable and successful record in this. Telemedicine is also used extensively by the military for provision of medical care in combat zones.The telemedicine tool is, however, eminently suitable for assisting in overcoming the access‐to‐care divide. The telemedicine tool is highly relevant for tapping into the volunteering readiness, and would allow humanitarian commitment to be activated with doctors who are ready to help, but not in a position to actually travel to the regions in dire need of support.
Humanitarian telemedicine implies hubs in metropolitan centres in the rich world linking to mobile or stationary telemedicine endpoints in the developing world, allowing doctors in the industrialised world to diagnose and treat remotely. The telemedicine equipment is remarkably capable and rugged, even if there will be the normal challenges of reliable power‐supply and maintenance at the end points in the need regions. India has shown that these challenges can be overcome. Having hubs in hospitals in the rich world will allow a doctor to volunteer a few hours a week to diagnose and treat patients in needy regions.