In a world that is rapidly changing as a result of technological advancements and innovation, the healthcare industry has also evolved and kept pace. This has allowed medical treatment and care to become borderless so that people access health services from the comfort of their homes.
Whether you want a consult or require long-term rehabilitation or therapy, you can count on technology to help deliver these services to you anywhere and at any time. These include telehealth, telemedicine, or telecare services.
So, let’s say you wish to seek telehealth therapy from the comfort of your home using online services or cutting-edge virtual reality (VR) therapy. While the former involves talking to a medical professional via a video call, virtual reality therapy involves using VR headsets to address a host of conditions including stress, anxiety and depression, physical therapy, occupational therapy, speech-language therapy, pain management, memory and cognitive training, and even support groups.
While it is commonly assumed that telehealth, telemedicine, and telecare therapy are one and the same, that is not exactly accurate. There are some fundamental differences in what kind of care each type of service caters to, and in order to help you decide which is the optimal choice, you should be aware of the differences between them.
Lucky for you, we take a comprehensive look at the differences between telehealth, telemedicine, and telecare therapy so that you can make an informed decision when seeking medical assistance.
With the global telehealth market size reaching a 26.5% increase in CAGR by 2021, this multi-billion industry has basically revolutionized the world of healthcare and management.
Telehealth is the wide range of telecommunication technology and electronic services that help provide medical assistance to those in need. Basically, it helps connect a patient to a provider but includes services beyond just the patient-doctor relationship to include nurses, pharmacists, and social workers.
Examples of telehealth services include wireless communication during virtual consults through audio, video, or text, health education or public health education, health administration, and electronic information sharing to help in virtual consultations, diagnosis, treatment, and management.
Telemedicine, which is often confused with telehealth, refers to the remote delivery of clinical healthcare services. This only involves the clinical services offered to a patient, as opposed to the remote non-clinical services in telehealth. It may be right to say that telemedicine refers to a subset of the broader services offered by telehealth.
Telemedicine services are facilitated by the presence of a robust telecommunications infrastructure that allows the use of various kinds of software and electronic telecommunication technologies to deliver clinical services to individuals without the need for in-person hospital or clinic visits.
Using telemedicine, you can gain access to a medical practitioner for a consult, diagnosis, and/or treatment plan. This involves any tests needed to reach a diagnosis, advising treatment to patients, and monitoring the prescribed health care treatment.
There are many advantages of telemedicine including increased accessibility to medical care. It has also proven helpful to reduce the rate of emergency admissions and hospitalizations since it offers fast, cost-effective, convenient, and efficient medical health services to individuals in their homes.
Telecare differs from both telehealth and telemedicine in the sense that it is a more consumer-oriented term that allows people to take care of their health using technology.
For instance, telecare may include health and fitness apps or wearable technology such as physical activity monitors and activity trackers that monitor metrics such as heart rate, steps taken, stairs climbed, sleep quality, and other important health indicators.
It can also include specialized digital early health warning systems for senior citizens or those who are not physically capable of caring for themselves. An example includes installing alarm units at home that offer 24/7 monitoring and access to emergency facilities.
Generally, telecare services help in facilitating more independent living by utilizing technological advancement in the larger healthcare industry. It is mostly used as a marketing term and doesn’t refer to any remote clinical or non-clinical services offered to patients under telehealth and telemedicine.
Seeking the right kind of medical help using these services requires research into the best platforms and facilities. Make sure that the provider is always transparent and upfront about all costs so that you don’t encounter any hidden fees. You may even check with your insurance provider to ascertain what and how much is covered. Also, remember to always read up on the testimonials to assess the quality of the service.
All this will ensure that you receive the best possible care while staying at home.