What is Telehealth?

TELEHEALTH: A mechanism for enhancing health care, public health, and health education delivery and support, using electronic communication and information.

Today, telehealth incorporates four distinct uses of electronic communications.  These are commonly known as:

Live Video Conferencing (Synchronous): Live, two-way interaction between a person and a provider using audio-visual telecommunications technology.  Virtual visits are accomplished using high speed connections and high definition monitors.   Here is one example of how telehealth is used to create a “virtual” visit:

Store and Forward (Asynchronous):
   Transmission of recorded health history through an electronic communications system to a practitioner, usually a specialist,  who uses the information to evaluate the case or render a service.   Here is an example of how store and forward is used to improve quality of care:

Remote Patient Monitoring (RPM)
:  Personal health and medical data collection from an individual in one location via electronic communication technologies, which is transmitted to a provider in a different location for use in patient care.  Here is an example of the value of using RPM:

Mobile Health (mHealth)
:  Health care and public health practice supported by mobile communication devices such as cell phones, tablet computers, and PDAs.  Applications can range from targeted text messages that promote healthy behavior to secure videoconferencing for medical services to wide-scale alerts about disease outbreaks.  Here are some examples of how mHealth is used:

For more information, visit both the National Telehealth Resource Center website and the Mid-Atlantic Telehealth Resource Center website!


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