Telemedicine makes use of telecommunication and information technologies to provide state-of-the-art clinical health care. Using telemedicine for patient monitoring through mobile technology will reduce the overall cost of medical care. Telemedicine eliminate distance barriers and is immensely useful in critical care and emergency situations. Telemedicine makes use of information technologies for the transmission of medical, imaging and health informatics data over internet. Telemedicine is the use of telecommunication and information technology to provide distance clinical health care. Telemedicine has been used to improve access to medical services that were not available in distant rural communities. Telemedicine is very useful in saving lives emergency situations. The term telemedicine was earlier applied to health provided with the use of telephone.
Telemedicine was also supplemented with videotelephony and also telemedical devices to support in-home health care. eHealth is a related term to telemedicine, used in the U.K. and Europe, as an umbrella term that includes telehealth, and other components of health information technology.
There are no universal definitions for the terms “telehealth” and “telemedicine,” which makes it impossible to differentiate them entirely from one another. The American Telemedicine Association uses the two terms “telehealth” and “telemedicine” interchangeably, both encompassing a wide definition of remote healthcare. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services identifies telehealth’s definition as broader in scope than that of telemedicine, covering remote healthcare services that are both clinical and non-clinical.
The term “telemedicine” refers solely to remote clinical services. The World Health Organization recognizes its own distinction between telehealth and telemedicine. Telehealth uses computer-assisted telecommunications to support management, surveillance, literature and access to medical knowledge.
Telemedicine uses telecommunications solely to diagnose and treat patients. The evolution of technology and care delivery is causing the industry to outgrow all artificial definitions of the two terms. In fact, telehealth and telemedicine are actually converging as the industry matures.