An Overview OF Telehealth

Telehealth in gist is the provision of healthcare remotely by means of telecommunications technology. In today’s article we shall discuss the emergence of Telehealth. This comprises a broad variety of technologies and tactics to yield virtual health, medical and education services.

CCHP and other members of the National Consortium of Telehealth Resource Centers confirmed a Telehealth Definition Framework to aid policy makers, practitioners, payers, and the public to understand how to accurately apply Telehealth and its key components.

Telehealth or Telemedicine

Telemedicine is used to refer to the traditional clinical diagnosis and monitoring that is delivered by technology. But, the word “Telehealth” is commonly used to describe education, wide range of diagnosis and management and other related fields of health-care; a few are mentioned below:

  • Dentistry
  • Counselling
  • Physical therapy
  • Home hygiene
  • Monitoring chronic disease and management
  • Disaster management

Defining Telehealth in Policy

State and federal agencies differ the way they define Telehealth. For example, California law defines Telehealth as a mode of delivering health-care services and public health through information and communication technologies to facilitate consultation, diagnosis, treatment, education and care management of a patient’s health care while the patient is at one site and the health care provider is at another and distant site. Telehealth favours patient self-management and caregiver support for patients and has synchronous interactions and asynchronous store and forward transfers.

Whereas, the federal Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) defines Telehealth as use of electronic information and telecommunications technologies to support long-distance clinical health care, patient and professional health-related education, public health and health administration.

The various definitions influence the policies and regulations surrounding how Telehealth is used, and these policies vary as much across regions as the definitions themselves. CCHP’s free, interactive map of telehealth policies could help clarify the confusion with updated information as per eleven distinct categories of Telehealth-related laws, regulations, and state Medicaid policies. 

Telehealth Modalities

Telehealth comprises 4 distinct domains of applications.  They are:

Live video (synchronous): It’s a live and two-way interaction between a person and a service provider using audiovisual telecommunications technologies.  This type of service is also known as “real-time” and might serve as a substitute for face to face encounter when it is not available. 

Store-and-forward (asynchronous): Transmission of recorded health history through a secure electronic system to a practitioner, who uses the information to evaluate the case outside the real-time or live interaction. As compared to a face to face visit, this service allows access to data after it has been collected, and involves communication tools such as secure email. 

Remote patient monitoring (RPM): Personal health and medical data collection from a person in one location through electronic communication technologies, which is transmitted to a provider (at times through a data processing service) in a different location for use in care and related support. This type of service permits a provider to continue to track healthcare data for a patient once released to home or another care unit, lowering the re-admission rates. 

Mobile health (mHealth): Health care and public health practices and education supported by mobile communication devices for instance tablets, cell phones, and PDAs. Applications could range from the text messages that provide healthy behaviour to wide-scale alerts when there are any disease outbreaks, to name a few examples. 

We conclude the discussion here. Stay connected with us this space for more discussions.

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