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What is Telehealth?

TELEHEALTH: The use of electronic information and telecommunications technologies to support distance clinical health care, patient and professional health-related education, public health and health administration.

Technologies include videoconferencing over secure internet, store-and-forward imaging, streaming media, and terrestrial and wireless communications.   Telehealth is primarily delivered in four ways:

1.  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:


2.  Store and Forward (Asynchronous):
   Transmission of pre-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:


3.  Remote Patient Monitoring (RPM)
:  Data collection of health and medical data from an individual in one location and transmitted electronically to a health care provider in a different location for use in patient care.  Here is an example of the value of using RPM:


4. 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 to the gamification of health to encourage healthy behaviors and practices.  Here are some examples of how mHealth is used:

mHealth Explainer from Learntelehealth.org on Vimeo.

©2014 Mid-Atlantic Telehealth Resource Center

This website has been made possible by grant G22RH22700 from the
Office for the Advancement of Telehealth/Health Resources and Services Administration/DHHS.