We conducted a review to establish the range and scope of current telemedicine guidelines and standards. Published guidelines were identified by searching the Medline and Telemedicine Information Exchange (TIE) databases, and by performing a Google search using the term 'telemedicine guidelines'. Three types of guidelines were identified, namely clinical, operational and technical. Clinical guidelines included those for teleradiology, telepsychiatry, home telenursing, minor injuries telemedicine, surgical telemedicine, teledermatology and telepathology. Operational guidelines included those for email communication, Internet access and videoconferencing. Technical guidelines included those from the American Telemedicine Association and the US Office for the Advancement of Telehealth. The main standards relevant to telemedicine include those of the International Telecommunication Union and the DICOM standard. The scarcity of guidelines and standards suggests that telemedicine is not yet near to routine use. If an international telemedicine organization were to take responsibility for defining guidelines, under the direction of clinicians with appropriate telemedicine experience, this might speed up their development.