Telehealth and telemedicine represent a remarkable development in the intersection between nascent technology and medicine. Their relative newness often means that they are bound to be used interchangeably and interpreted inconsistently by policymakers, which is primarily why understanding the differences between both terms is fundamental. Telehealth typically refers to a subgroup of E-health that uses a wide variety of services and new technologies to bolster healthcare delivery through improved patient care (Edelman et al., 2018).
An extensive range of remote care services serve as the main difference between telehealth and telemedicine. Telehealth also amalgamates care provider training, managerial services, capacity building, and non-clinical services that are offered remotely. The main objective of telehealth is health promotion through the introduction of innovative approaches to enhance public health functions. This service-at-a-distant approach can be offered efficiently through telecommunications. Telemedicine, on the other hand, is grouped under telehealth and refers to the provision of much-needed healthcare knowledge and care services using electronic communication and software (Gott, 2018, p. 19). It is applied within a clinical setting to manage protracted conditions, arrange follow-up visits, and offers an imitable opportunity for individuals with health concerns to consult specialists.
Telehealth relies upon confidential audio and video connections to connect physicians to patients during routine consultations. While telemedicine involves harnessing technology to care remotely for patients, telehealth espouses virtual medical services to promote health outcomes. Although telehealth and telemedicine have been hailed as significant developments, both have benefits and limitations. Telehealth is convenient, efficient, affordable, and confidential. Telehealth also minimizes the risk of healthcare providers transmitting highly infectious diseases such as COVID-19 through prearranged tele-consulations.
Nevertheless, telehealth is not applicable in all scenarios, may encounter technological glitches, and is not offered by every physician. The benefits of telemedicine are that it allows patients to easily access specialists, permits efficient exchange of integral information and knowledge. However, telemedicine is not always readily available and is costly to set up and maintain.
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