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What is TeleHealth?

Telehealth is the use of communications technologies to provide health care from a distance. These technologies may include computers, cameras, videoconferencing, the Internet, and satellite and wireless communications. Some examples of telehealth include

A "virtual visit" with a health care provider, through a phone call or video chat

A surgeon using robotic technology to do surgery from a different location

Sensors that can alert caregivers if a person with dementia leaves the house

Sending your provider a message through your electronic health record (EHR)

Watching an online video that your provider sent you about how to use an inhaler

Getting an email, phone, or text reminder that it's time for a cancer screening

Remote patient monitoring, which lets your provider check on you while you
are at home. For example, you might wear a device that measures your heart
rate and sends that information to your provider.

What is the difference between telemedicine and telehealth?

Sometimes people use the term telemedicine to mean the same thing as telehealth. Telehealth is a broader term. It includes telemedicine. But it also includes things like training for health care providers, health care administrative meetings, and services provided by pharmacists and social workers.

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Benefits and Potential Uses of Telehealth

Telehealth services can facilitate public health mitigation strategies during this pandemic by increasing social distancing. These services can be a safer option for HCP and patients by reducing potential infectious exposures. They can reduce the strain on healthcare systems by minimizing the surge of patient demand on facilities and reduce the use of PPE by healthcare providers.

Maintaining continuity of care to the extent possible can avoid additional negative consequences from delayed preventive, chronic, or routine care. Remote access to healthcare services may increase participation for those who are medically or socially vulnerable or who do not have ready access to providers. Remote access can also help preserve the patient-provider relationship at times when an in-person visit is not practical or feasible. Telehealth services can be used to:

Access primary care providers and specialists, including mental and behavioral health, for chronic health conditions and medication management

Provide coaching and support for patients managing chronic health conditions, including weight management and nutrition counseling

Participate in physical therapy, occupational therapy, and other modalities as a hybrid approach to in-person care for optimal health

Monitor clinical signs of certain chronic medical conditions (e.g., blood pressure, blood glucose, other remote assessments)

Engage in case management for patients who have difficulty accessing care (e.g., those who live in very rural settings, older adults, those with limited mobility)

Deliver advance care planning and counseling to patients and caregivers to document preferences if a life-threatening event or medical crisis occurs

Provide non-emergent care to residents in long-term care facilities

Provide education and training for HCP through peer-to-peer professional medical consultations (inpatient or outpatient) that are not locally available, particularly in rural areas

Follow up with patients after hospitalization