What is telemedicine?
In brief, telemedicine is the remote delivery of health care services and clinical information using telecommunications technology. This includes a wide array of clinical services using internet, wireless, satellite and telephone media.
What is the distinction between telemedicine and telehealth?
While some have parsed out unique definitions for each word, we treat “telemedicine” and “telehealth” as synonyms and use the terms interchangeably. In both cases, we are referring to the use of remote health care technology to deliver clinical services.
How typical is telemedicine?
Telemedicine is a significant and rapidly growing component of health care in the United States & Europe. There are currently about 200 telemedicine networks, with 3,500 service sites in the US. Nearly 1 million Americans are currently using remote cardiac monitors and in 2011, the Veterans Health Administration delivered over 300,000 remote consultations using telemedicine. Over half of all U.S. hospitals now use some form of telemedicine. Around the world, millions of patients use telemedicine to monitor their vital signs, remain healthy and out of hospitals and emergency rooms. Consumers and physicians download health and wellness applications for use on their cell phones.
Is telemedicine safe?
Yes. Guided by technical standards and clinical practice guidelines, and backed by decades of research and demonstrations, telemedicine is a safe and cost-effective way to extend the delivery of health care. American Telehealth Association (ATA) has produced a series of standards, guidelines and best practices for healthcare providers to ensure that they are using telemedicine responsibly.
What is mHealth? Is it a type of telemedicine or something different?
mHealth, also known as mobile health, is a form of telemedicine using wireless devices and cell phone technologies. It is useful to think of mHealth as a tool–a medium–through which telemedicine can be practiced. mHealth is a particularly powerful development because it delivers clinical care through consumer-grade hardware and allows for greater patient and provider mobility. ATA has a Special Interest Group dedicated to the practice and development of mHealth.