Telehealth (telemedicine) is a technology used by providers of all kinds to improve access to care, provide more consistent and efficient care while enhancing availability and quality of care while helping to address the needs of patients affected by the clinical workforce provider shortages.
Telemedicine and telehealth incorporate digital health, mobile health, e-health monitoring, patient consultation via video conferencing, wireless applications and health information technology (IT). The two terms are often used interchangeably however in reality telemedicine is a subset of telehealth where telehealth is the umbrella term of all the telecommunications technologies available to digitally and remotely assist patients in receiving care through virtual means.
A few examples of telehealth options are:
- Apps with alerts regarding important public information
- Mobile apps that let providers treat patients remotely
- Same or similar apps let patients send pictures or questions to providers remotely
- Transmitting health history, videos and digital images
Telehealth is a means of reducing healthcare cost and spending with staying in touch and engaged with patients while providing excellent health care to all area but especially to rural and remote areas where travel time is difficult due to expenses and mobility issues. As well as, provider availability to cover shortages.
As the practice of telemedicine increases, the effect on health care access, quality, and education and costs of care will be vastly improved. The use of telemedicine will impact the current models of care by increasing communication among providers which will result in more efficient, higher quality, and reduced cost in care.