Telemedicine vs Telehealth: What’s The Difference?

Telemedicine concept. Doctor with a stethoscope on the computer laptop screen; blog: Telemedicine vs Telehealth: What’s The Difference?

Telemedicine and telehealth have been around for years, but recently these services are mentioned more frequently. That’s because the demand for remote healthcare has risen during the COVID-19 pandemic. The two terms are often used interchangeably, but when talking about telemedicine vs telehealth, there are some key differences.

What is Telemedicine?

The American Telemedicine Association defines telemedicine as “the use of medical information exchanged from one site to another via electronic communications to improve patients’ health status.” Basically, telemedicine remote healthcare provided to people via secure video and audio connections. Telemedicine is limited to remote clinical services, meaning it is not used for educational or administrative purposes the way telehealth may be used.

Telemedicine has benefited the medical field by allowing healthcare providers to treat and monitor patients who are unable to make it to in-person appointments. This means that people that normally would not have access to care can see providers. It also allows people to see specialists that they might not otherwise have easy access to.

Telemedicine might include things like:

  • The digital transmission of medical documents and imaging
  • Remote medical evaluation
  • Remote medical diagnosis
  • Video consultations with specialists

Telemedicine visits are often used for follow-ups, medication management, specialist consultation, and the management of chronic conditions.

What Is Telehealth?

The Health Resources Service Administration (HRSA) defines telehealth as “the use of electronic information and telecommunications technologies to support long-distance health care, patient and professional health-related education, public health and health administration.” It differs from telemedicine because it has a broader scope and encompasses more types of remote healthcare services than telemedicine. 

When it comes to telemedicine vs telehealth, telehealth is more comprehensive. It includes the same services as telemedicine and also includes remote non-clinical services. Non-clinical services may include provider training, administrative meetings for healthcare organizations, and continuing medical education. 

Telemedicine vs Telehealth Technology

When discussing telemedicine vs telehealth, the two make use of the same technology. The main difference may be in the software systems or applications used for each. Because telehealth includes a greater number of services and capabilities, the systems used would be more comprehensive than those used for telemedicine. But the basics remain the same as far as technology and hardware.

Telemedicine and telehealth may use the following technologies:

Clinical Documentation For Telemedicine and Telehealth Services

The requirements for clinical documentation for a telehealth visit are the same as for face-to-face encounters. A clinical documentation and medical transcription company can help make sure healthcare providers are documenting your telehealth services correctly so that claims are reimbursed. 

Fast Chart is a medical transcription company that combines technology, experience, and service. We provide innovative, accurate, and affordable outsourced clinical documentation. Our solutions are scalable including services and technologies like computer-assisted coding, automated transcription, and speech understanding to ensure accuracy in your clinical documentation no matter the size of your organization. To learn more about our services and how Fast Chart can help you with clinical documentation for telemedicine or telehealth, contact us at (919) 477-5152