Difference Between Telehealth & Telemedicine
With the recent surge of COVID’19 cases in the United States, the dependency on technology has skyrocketed. Online consultations are becoming the norm as the world tries to socially distance. Not only has COVID’19 increased the number of people who need medical assistance, but it has also increased the number of individuals who can now not go for in-person consultation due to social distancing SOPs. If you are already sick, you would not want to risk getting infected with COVID’19 as well.
Telehealth and telemedicine help patients get assistance from the comfort of their homes. That brings us to the question: is there a difference between telemedicine and telehealth? Although they are often used interchangeably, the truth is that telehealth is a more general term, whereas telemedicine comes under the umbrella of telehealth.
What is telehealth?
According to the US Department of Health and Human Services, 60% of all health care institutions use some form or the other of telehealth. The use of technology such as computers and phones for anything health-related comes under telehealth. From health blogs to mobile apps used for tracking health, telehealth does not just deal with technologies that fall under telemedicine. Telehealth aims to make information more accessible to people who live in isolated or rural communities and cannot easily travel long distances for consultation. This is especially convenient for people with chronic illnesses and infectious diseases.
With time, telehealth has evolved into an industry that generates $3.2 billion in revenue. Today, it is used for a multitude of reasons other than telemedicine, such as:
- Apps for personal health management: There are thousands of apps available online that allow you to record important details about your personal health. You can use these apps for anything from tracking your menstruation cycle to recording your daily caloric intake.
- Online delivery: You can use online pharmacies to order any medication or supplies you may need. Online delivery is very convenient, especially in the case of life-threatening conditions that require supplies on an urgent basis.
- Appointment reminders: It is human to forget. However, thanks to technology, there are apps available that remind patients of their scheduled appointments. You can even cancel or reschedule at your convenience.
- Monitoring health from a distance: Most medical devices today can measure health indicators such as your blood pressure or blood glucose and directly send the results to your doctor, without the need of a third party.
- Educating and informing the masses: Especially relevant during the era of COVID’19, telehealth has played an essential role in alerting the public regarding virus hotspots and developments in SOPs.
- Maintaining records of patients: Organizations such as SmartClinix allow doctors to access EMRs (electronic medical records) for reviewing and consultation. Accessing all previous prescriptions and test results of patients from one platform could save time and even lives in emergencies.
What is telemedicine?
The decades-old confusion about what comes under telehealth and telemedicine is a common one. Telemedicine refers to a more specific industry that comes under telehealth. Historically, it has been used to refer to one-on-one clinical communication between doctors and patients. SmartClinix offers technology that provides seamless, private video conferencing from the convenience of your home.
Telemedicine is becoming increasingly relevant, especially when it comes to mental health services. Behavioral illnesses associated with mental health can benefit from the advancement of technology. Telemedicine provides a solution to the lack of medical health professionals available to the masses. It helps patients set up weekly appointments with a psychologist or a psychiatrist while avoiding the stigma involved with it, all from the privacy of their homes.
SmartClinix goes as far as offering an option to avail the triage facility in case patients need emotional support from their loved ones during a consultation. Telemedicine is increasingly trying to incorporate ways to cater to all the needs of patients.
Telehealth and telemedicine both aim to reduce the healthcare disparity amongst the masses. With the rising cost associated with medical expenses, not everyone in the United States has access to high-quality healthcare, which is why SmartClinix has partnered up with PMF (Pioneer Medical Foundation).
For the first time in a decade, the number of Americans without healthcare at any point during the year rose by over 0.6%. From 7.9% in 2017, the number of individuals without any health insurance rose to 8.5% in 2018. By providing its medical services to the homeless, refugee, uninsured, and underinsured adult community, SmartClinix attempts to bridge this gap. Telemedicinal services are now available to all patients of Pioneer Medical Foundation, who can easily connect with health care professionals by logging on to Pioneer Medical Foundation’s website where they can access SmartClinix’s interactive patient portal. Visit our website today to avail the convenience of SmartClinix!
Dr. Josh is a physician who's helping spread the knowledge about Telehealth and its advantages. At SmartClinix, he's providing his expertise and knowledge in the form of engaging articles on various health & tech related topics.
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I would respectfully add to the diagram and discussion the circles of health and life as all of our subsets of life, the environment and their individual goals and priorities for each.