Understanding the Differences Between Telemedicine and Telehealth
Telemedicine and telehealth are two different terms that both refer to remote healthcare. However, while you may have heard people using these two terms interchangeably, they refer to two different practices. Although closely related, telehealth is a broader term than telemedicine.
Before creating your own healthcare application, it's important to understand the differences and ensure you're using the right application for your healthcare practice or business.
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What Is Telemedicine?
Telemedicine is a type of telehealth that allows healthcare providers to interact with and treat patients remotely. It often includes the use of remote medical equipment such as cameras and sensors. Telemedicine can entail anything from an online doctor visit to long-distance patient monitoring.
Medical facilities and healthcare clinics frequently use this type of technology with specific clinical services such as:
1. Follow-up Doctor Appointments
One of the most common uses of telemedicine is setting up virtual follow-up appointments. Patients can speak to their healthcare provider through online videoconferencing or on a mobile device. The doctor can prescribe medication, monitor their patient’s vital signs, and diagnose new conditions online.
2. Management of Chronic Conditions
One of the most effective uses of telemedicine is managing patients with chronic conditions. It ensures that patients follow their treatment plans and allows them to receive prescription refills without having to leave their homes. The technology also allows providers to monitor patient progress and track any abnormalities.
3. Specialist Consultation
As internet speeds have increased, the quality of telehealth has improved drastically. In some cases, patients can consult specialists they would otherwise not have access to.
For example, a patient in Michigan can see a doctor at the University of Chicago through virtual video services. These types of interactions can allow doctors to reach their patients in an inexpensive and efficient way.
4. Medication Management
Another benefit of telemedicine is that doctors can use it to track and manage a patient's medication. Many health providers use applications to ensure that each patient takes their medication in the correct dosage and at the appropriate time. These apps also allow doctors to monitor patients for drug interactions, ensuring both safety and efficacy.
What Is Telehealth?
Like telemedicine, telehealth is a type of technology that enables healthcare professionals to interact with their patients remotely. While it also often includes the use of medical equipment such as cameras and sensors, it encompasses a wide range of services. So while telemedicine is a part of telehealth, not all of the telehealth is part of telemedicine.
The latest analysis of global telehealth market size predicts that telehealth will increase in value and that it can provide a variety of services, including:
1. Provider Training
In many cases, telehealth is used to train new healthcare professionals. This can involve live-streaming a surgery, allowing trainee doctors to remotely observe and assist with surgeries. In some cases, this can even include the use of virtual tools so that individuals have access to equipment that might not be available in their area or country.
2. Administrative Meetings
Medical facilities and institutions can also use telehealth for administrative meetings. This allows administrators to hold conferences and provide training remotely, thus saving time and money. In addition, it is a good way for professors to collaborate with students from other institutions or countries.
3. Continuing Medical Education
Continuing medical education (CME) is a way for healthcare professionals to keep up with industry knowledge and improve their skills. CME activities allow doctors and nurses to participate in conferences and seminars online, thus building offline relationships that span international lines.
4. Live Videoconferencing
Another common use for telehealth is live videoconferencing. Telehealth can connect patients with their providers in real-time, and it can also connect different types of healthcare professionals. For example, doctors can use this service to discuss cases or plan out surgeries, while pharmacists can update prescriptions and diagnose drug interactions.
5. Remote Patient Monitoring
Doctors can also use telehealth for remote patient monitoring. This is especially popular in the elderly population, allowing healthcare providers to monitor medications and physical activity.
Healthcare providers can also use this technology to measure sensitive health metrics such as respiratory rates or blood pressure. Doctors can keep their patients home rather than in inexpensive care facilities.
The Rise of Telemedicine and Telehealth Apps
As technology continues to advance, telehealth is becoming a more common practice. Experts say that the “new normal” will be even more tech-driven three years from now. They also expect that the quality of care will improve even more because of telehealth.
Telehealth provides patients with access to care in areas where they might not otherwise have it. For example, many people do not live close to major hospitals and universities. By using technology such as telemedicine, healthcare professionals can offer care affordably and on-demand.
The unique combination of convenience, accessibility, and affordability makes telehealth an ideal option for individuals who need health services but do not have access to them. As long as they have a smartphone or access to the internet, patients can receive the healthcare they need without leaving their homes.
Telehealth apps have numerous benefits for both healthcare providers and patients. For service providers, a few benefits are patient no-show reductions, increased practice revenue, improved patient engagement, and improved quality of healthcare service delivery. For patients, a few benefits are the freedom to choose, greater connectivity, and faster and more efficient transactions.
While telehealth is currently a developing field, there's no doubt that it will play a vital role in the future of healthcare. As virtual and augmented reality technologies improve and expand, we can expect to see greater numbers of interactions between patients and healthcare providers taking place virtually. This means more convenient care for patients and an increase in efficiency for providers.
At Digital Authority Partners, our healthcare app development team understands that telehealth is about more than just delivering healthcare remotely. That's why we take the time to get to know your business and figure out how telehealth can help you meet your unique goals and expand your customer base.
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