The concepts of telehealth and telemedicine are becoming more and more popular and widespread in modern times, thanks to the power of modern technology. With telemedicine, it’s easier than ever before for patients to get the healthcare they need, but what exactly is the difference between telehealth and telemedicine? This telemedicine vs telehealth guide will cover all you need to know.
What Is the Difference Between Telehealth and Telemedicine?
Let’s start off our telehealth vs telemedicine guide with a look at the clear differences and definitions of these two terms. While they may seem very similar at first glance and can sometimes be used interchangeably, telemedicine and telehealth actually have very different definitions.
What Is Telehealth?
Telehealth refers to the use of electronic devices and modern communications technologies to deliver both medical and non-medical services remotely. This can include but is not limited to, things like medical training for doctors and nurses, health check-ups via apps, and virtual clinic meetings.
What Is Telemedicine?
Telemedicine refers to the use of electronic devices and modern communications technologies to deliver medical services, only. This term doesn’t apply to non-medical processes. Some examples of telemedicine may include a doctor having a video chat with a patient to consult about a health problem they’re experiencing or making a possible diagnosis over a phone call.
So, when it comes to telemedicine vs telehealth, the main difference between telemedicine and telehealth is simply that telehealth is a broader term. Telehealth can refer to more processes and aspects of healthcare than telemedicine, like remote monitoring and real-time remote healthcare services, in addition to medical education and so on.
What Are the Benefits of Telehealth and Telemedicine?
So, we’ve seen the main difference between telemedicine and telehealth. However, it’s still important to note that even though telehealth vs telemedicine have different definitions, they both have big benefits to provide to both patients and healthcare providers.
Benefits of Telehealth
- Remote Monitoring: Telehealth can be used to allow physicians to remotely monitor the health and developments of their patients, without needing to physically check on the patients or bring them into their clinics over and over. With the aid of remote telehealth devices, for example, it’s possible to track how a patient is responding to a treatment.
- Mobile Health: A big part of telehealth is the development and implementation of mobile health apps. Both patients and members of the general public can make use of these apps to learn more about their health, discover possible warning signs or symptoms, and educate themselves on healthcare and medicine.
- Education: As explained above, telehealth can also refer to the remote or online training and education of healthcare professionals, from doctors to nurses. With telehealth apps, programs, and resources, medical students and professionals can learn more and develop their skills without the need for physical in-person classes and courses.
Benefits of Telemedicine
- Safer: One of the big benefits of telemedicine is that it’s usually much safer for patients and doctors. Instead of having to meet face-to-face and risk cross-contamination or exposure to other pathogens and illnesses, patients can be diagnosed and treated from the safety of their homes.
- Flexible: Telemedicine appointments are also much more flexible and convenient for all concerned when compared to traditional in-person consultations. With a telemedicine consultation, patients can speak with their doctor at a time and location that suits them, and it’s even possible to arrange out-of-hours video calls if desired.
- Long-Term Support: It’s not always possible for patients to get regular consultations with their doctors, due to various constraints like distance, time, and money. With the power of telemedicine technology, it’s much easier for patients, such as those with chronic diseases, to get regular check-ups and care from their doctor in the most accessible way.
Limitations of Telemedicine
Of course, when it comes to any discussion of telemedicine vs telehealth, it’s important to note that these new technologies also have some limitations. There are certain situations where in-person office visits and medical care are needed, and virtual visits or video calls simply won’t suffice. Doctors may not be able to accurately examine and diagnose a patient remotely, for example.
When to Use Telehealth vs Telemedicine?
In general, telehealth is used for general monitoring of patients and more independent patient care, letting the patients track and monitor their conditions or send data to their doctor remotely over an extended period of time. Meanwhile, telemedicine is more appropriate for situations where a patient needs a new diagnosis or wants to consult with their doctor about something specific.
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As this guide shows, while telemedicine and telehealth have some similarities, there are also clear differences that separate them, and it’s important for patients to have a clear understanding of each one in order to seek the best remote healthcare for their needs.