What is telemedicine and telehealth?

The American Telemedicine Association has historically considered telemedicine and telehealth to be interchangeable terms, encompassing a wide definition of remote healthcare. Patient consultations via video conferencing, transmission of still images, e-health including patient portals, remote monitoring of vital signs, continuing medical education, consumer-focused wireless applications and nursing call centers, among other applications, are all considered part of telemedicine and telehealth.

Telemedicine is most commonly defined as providing healthcare services from a distance. Telemedicine uses video conferencing technology especially adapted for use in healthcare with medical diagnostic scopes that can transmit images in real time to clinicians at sites distant from the patient.

Telehealth is a term that generally includes telemedicine and other technology enabled health services including electronic health records, health information exchange and disaster response.