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Telehealth and Telemedicine - What are the Differences?

by GMDP November 15 2021

Technology can save lives. That’s a known fact. 


With the use of technology innovations, the healthcare industry is now keeping up with the health requirements of this modern world. Two of these health innovations are Telehealth and Telemedicine. 


Although Telehealth and Telemedicine are oftentimes used interchangeably, both have different uses, aspects, and functions. It is important to identify the similarities and differences between the two so that physicians and patients will know how to use these innovations to their full potential. 


What is Telehealth


Telehealth in simple terms aims to promote remote patient care and monitoring with the use of different telecommunication methods. Telehealth includes Telemedicine, Electronic Health Records, Electronic Medical Records, Patient Portals, and other platforms. 


There are different ways in how Telehealth can be delivered. It may be through video-conferencing, where the patient and the physician talk to each other in real-time. It is described as virtual consultations, with the same clinical consultation methods yet this time, it is done virtually. 


Video-conferencing however is not limited to video consultations only, it can be health training, online rehabilitation exercises and webinars. 


Another method is Remote Patient Monitoring, with this patients can just simply send files and documents  to their physicians for review and diagnosis. 


Telehealth is also making use of Patient Portals. In Patient portals, physicians or a healthcare facility can easily send data and information to patients. In just one platform, patients can now access their prescriptions, physician’s notes, electronic and medical records, as well as get timely reminders of their appointment. 


What is Telemedicine?


Telemedicine is part of Telehealth but in contrast, is more limited. Telemedicine's sole purpose is to deliver patient care through electronic telecommunication software to avoid in-person visits. 


Telemedicine is usually used frequently for specialist consultation, medication management, follow-ups, and other clinical services that can be done over the phone or via video conferencing. 


Both patients and physicians are experiencing the benefits of Telemedicine. No-shows and missed appointments can now be lessened because patients can attend consultations in the comfort of their own homes. 


Knowing that in the Philippines, the traffic situation is not good, patients' hassle in commuting and traveling from their home to the clinic will be reduced or ideally, eliminated. With this, the risk of contracting the COVID-19 virus will be lessened as well. 


Similarities between Telehealth and Telemedicine


Both Telehealth and Telemedicine aim to deliver patient care through the use of electronic telecommunication software. In using both services, participants must have an internet connection and an electronic device. 


Both services aim to promote better communication among physicians and their patients. Telehealth and Telemedicine encourage remote patient monitoring and digitizing workflow processes. 


Both services not only help physicians and patients but healthcare staff as well. They improve the quality of work by streamlining day-to-day administrative tasks in hospitals or clinics. They also bring convenience, and not only do patients and physicians save money but time as well. Sure, both may seem like a costly investment at first but the return on investment will surely be worth it considering it is more than a need than just a mere want, and to add that of course, the main goal of every physician is to improve the health of their patients. 


Differences between Telehealth and Telemedicine


As mentioned before Telehealth and Telemedicine are often time used interchangeably. There are several differences however that we need to note to distinguish between the two. For starters, Telehealth is using different telecommunication software to talk to provide surveillance, medication management, giving of clinical notes, virtual consultations, and uploading of electronic and health records. In contrast, Telemedicine is focusing solely on giving diagnoses and treatments to patients through telecommunication software.


Telehealth also has a wider scope compared to Telemedicine. The former uses different digital healthcare services to improve the healthcare system as a whole. It uses various tools to improve patient care. The latter specifically focuses on improving remote patient care.


Another difference is that Telehealth also aims to encourage patients to be more engaged and aware of their own health and healthcare. Telehealth uses tools like patient portals in order to help physicians and patients have a smooth flowing of health transactions. Telemedicine focuses more on helping physicians improve the range of their services with the use of web-based software. 


Whether you use Telehealth or Telemedicine in your practice or healthcare, the ability to adjust and adapt to these innovations is still very important. We must acknowledge that the whole world is moving forward with the use of technology and the healthcare industry continues to improve its services with these digital technologies. 


Whether you want to sign up for a Telehealth service or a Telemedicine service, Global MD Plus got you covered. Their services help you in monitoring your healthcare. They offer a free 30-day trial of all of their services. All you need to do is register on their website at www.globalmdplus.com.


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