What is Telehealth?
Telehealth is the use of a range of telecommunication technologies, including, but not limited to, telephone, video, computers or tablets, and internet-based web applications. These methods of communication allow health service providers to diagnose or assess problems, provide information, and deliver health services remotely, from a different location. Telehealth is an alternative to in-person contact that supports assessment and intervention when in-person contact is not feasible.
In many cases, delivery of health care services through telehealth has been found to be as effective as in-person delivery.
Telehealth is ‘synchronous’ when there is live, real-time interaction as in a telephone conversation or video teleconference. Telehealth is ‘asynchronous’ when the information is relayed to another site to be reviewed at another time.
Telehealth has been successfully used to address many problems including:
- Monitoring chronic heart failure
- Smoking cessation
- Treating depression
- Virtual reality for anxiety disorders
- Chronic conditions such as diabetes and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease
- Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) symptom management
- Mentoring problem solving in caregivers of TBI survivors
- Can increase access to care for those living in areas with limited facilities or providers or who have limited transportation
- May reduce travel time and cost
- Provides flexibility within busy schedules
- Promotes continuity of care
- May decrease stigma of getting care
- Good patient satisfaction