What is the Difference Between Telemedicine & Telehealth?
The terms “telemedicine” and “telehealth” are now progressively gaining popularity especially during the COVID pandemic and the post-COVID era. Since the beginning of mass electronic communications starting from fax machines and video-based telecommunications, healthcare has been a prime opportunity to connect patients and providers for instantaneous consults. In this article I will explain the key differences that may help you decide on which type of digital health solution is best suited for your care.
In late March 2020, telehealth services saw a 154% increase in comparison to March 2019. On the other hand, 71% of respondents in a survey stated that they were afraid to visit a doctor during the COVID-19 intensive months and would consider telemedicine services instead [CDC, 2020].
Upon their rising trends, telemedicine and telehealth are oftentimes used interchangeably by regular people and even medical professionals. Their meanings appear to be similar. In this blog article, I will enlighten you on the differences between both concepts.
What is Telemedicine?
Telemedicine is the practice of medicine using technology to deliver care at a distance. A physician in one location uses a telecommunications infrastructure to deliver care to a patient at a distant site. In other words, it is the medical diagnosis and treatment of patients by means of telehealth technologies, all happening at distant locations.
A doctor can watch or perform a laparoscopy procedure on a patient in New York all the way from his office in Los Angeles. Telemedicine is a long-distance doctor-patient electronic delivery of care.
There is a wide variety of telemedicine platforms that bridge the gap between doctors and their patients without physical contact. It provides an online opportunity for doctors to catch up and be more involved in this trendy on-demand niche in healthcare.
What is Telehealth?
Telehealth comprises all the telecommunications systems that primarily deploy remote technologies to improve the healthcare of individuals. Telehealth is the hen that gave birth to telemedicine as its young chick.
Telehealth can rightfully be defined as the devices and media that enable long-distance delivery of healthcare services, especially remote patient monitoring (RPM) that can collect real-time quantifiable health data (blood pressure, glucose levels, sleep patterns etc) and using advanced AI data management, it can assist the care provider to understand the progression of an individual’s health status, remotely.
A video call or online chat appointment with a licensed doctor or nurse is a typical example of telehealth service delivery. Remote Patient Monitoring (RPM) and mobile health in the form of wearable health & fitness gadgets are also fine examples.
Telemedicine vs Telehealth – How do they differ?
|Specific to patient interaction|
|Real time consultations with healthcare professionals|
|Discrete communication between provider and patient, sometimes insurer/auditor|
|Wide analysis of multiple data points|
|Usually non-clinical assessments|
|Past health status assessment from live data managed by IT systems|
|Data-sharing between entities according to internal privacy protocols and interconnected portals|
The COVID-19 pandemic has increased the necessity of telehealth and telemedicine. It has provided the incentive needed to increase members’ willing participation in telehealth counseling. Nevertheless, concerns over compromising the safety and privacy of telemedicine and telehealth remain in the minds of many.
This industry will need global regulations and policies to maintain the good existing quality.
Various methods of incorporating telehealth and telemedicine are soon to arise as time elapses. Therefore, both telehealth and telemedicine will continue to grow and develop in the future. We at ViOS strongly believe they will become more affordable to patients, more easily accessible, and more clinically efficient in the coming years.
Tell us how Digital Health should be designed for your care, leave your opinions in the comments section below
What is ViOS?
ViOS is the first-ever digital health cooperative that specializes in assisting doctors worldwide to host their virtual health and wellness sessions with patients. ViOS is there to help two entities: (1) healthcare professionals and (2) the general public or signed-in patients.
ViOS helps medical experts offer their consults and expert advice online and help connect patients with these medical experts. You can meet these healthcare experts in the online clinic here.
Through the ViOS blog and published eBooks, the general public can get free information that helps them make better health choices. Download a free ebook from the digital library here.
Reez is a volunteer writer for the Youth Economist at the Entrepreneurship Dept. Reez has 2 years of writing experience in the Health and Wellness niche as a Physiology graduate and Medical student in Nigeria. You can read more about Reez’s content here.