What are telehealth and telemedicine? What is the difference between telehealth and telemedicine?
Telehealth is defined as “the use of digital information and communication technologies, such as computers and mobile devices, to access healthcare services remotely and manage your healthcare.” As with the term “healthcare,” telehealth comprises a broad spectrum of activities, including patient-doctor communications, diagnoses, ongoing monitoring, and education and counseling.
Telemedicine, on the other hand, has generally been used to define a more limited spectrum of technology-based healthcare tools that provide clinical services, namely the remote diagnosis and patient monitoring.
When telemedicine emerged in the 2000s, the technology was limited in scope. Early telemedicine applications were strictly clinical in nature, limited to services such as screening a potential patient over video or monitoring an ICU patient’s vital signs from a remote location. As telemedicine evolved, its capabilities quickly expanded beyond the strict boundaries of clinical medicine, resulting in the broader term telehealth. Today, telehealth is broad enough to include doctor training and administrative meetings held in a video chat room, in addition to clinical services.
Once distinct, the two terms are now used more fluidly, and many sources use the terms interchangeably.