telemedicine definition

Telemedicine is the remote delivery of healthcare services over the telecommunications infrastructure.

There are three main categories of telemedicine:

Remote patient monitoring - allows patients with chronic diseases to be monitored in their homes through the use of devices that collect data about blood sugar levels, blood pressure or other vital signs. The data can be reviewed instantly by remote caregivers.

Store and forward technology - stores clinical data, as well as X-rays and other images, and forwards the data to other locations for evaluation.

Interactive telemedicine - allows physicians and patients to communicate in real time. Such sessions can be conducted in the patient's home or in a nearby medical facility.  

Telemedicine is a subset of telehealth, which includes both remote clinical service delivery and non-clinical elements of the healthcare system. In practice, however, the two terms are often used interchangeably. The term e-care  is sometimes used as a synonym for telemedicine, but in the United States, the federal government's definition of e-care includes technologies to aid in advanced analytics, as well as clinical services.

This was first published in July 2015

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