If you heard about telemedicine and telehealth for the first time, you might think the two words mean the same concept. Sometimes the two words are used interchangeably, but that can be confusing. Policymakers and stakeholders in the healthcare industry will often use these words to explain certain healthcare services.
To avoid confusion, you must know the distinctions between telemedicine and telehealth. Before you seek telemedicine services, here are the differences between telemedicine and telehealth care.
Telemedicine uses technology and information technology to provide healthcare services to patients in remote areas. It was first designed to help people who lived in areas without easy access to healthcare facilities. On the other hand, telehealth refers to the use of telecommunications to encourage long-distance healthcare services.
Types of Services
Telemedicine services have three types of services, while telehealth does not have any. Telemedicine includes interactive medicine, store and forward, and remote patient monitoring. The services are meant to help doctors provide healthcare to patients in rural or remote areas.
Some scholars have argued that telemedicine services focus on the physicians while telehealth focuses on the physician and the patient. Telemedicine ensures the doctor reaches the patient, and they can share information between healthcare providers. Telehealth ensures that the doctor can reach the patients and also ensures the patient has the freedom to choose how they can access a healthcare provider.
Telehealth Is all-Encompassing
The reason most people think telemedicine services and telehealth are the same is telehealth sometimes offers services found in telemedicine. Telemedicine focuses on specific services, while telehealth has many services under one roof. Telehealth offers many methods that can improve patient care and education delivery.
Become More Distinguishable
As technology keeps improving, services offered under telemedicine and telehealth will become more distinguishable. Many healthcare institutions do have any of the services; hence most patients do not know they exist. However, as more learn about telehealth and telemedicine and gain access to mobile devices, telehealth and telemedicine will improve.
Examples of Telemedicine and Telehealth
Here are some of the services they offer to understand the difference between telemedicine and telehealth. Telemedicine services include video conferencing between doctor and patient, sharing ultrasound reports, and remote monitoring of a patient. Telehealth includes diagnosis, remote monitoring, consulting, specialized education, and remote mental therapy sessions.
Sometimes people use telehealth and telemedicine interchangeably but these two words do not refer to the same thing. However, the two are fairly new concepts and need to be improved, and people will learn differences after they are fully developed.