Telehealth Systems

In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2023 Jan.


Telehealth is the use of a technology-based virtual platform to deliver various aspects of health information, prevention, monitoring, and medical care. The fastest growing sector of health care, telehealth’s largest segment is telemedicine. Narrowly, telemedicine is defined as the practice of medicine via a remote electronic interface. There are distinctions within telemedicine delivery. In practice, the majority of hospital-based health care delivery is doctor-to-doctor, providing expert specialist medicine to often rural, international, or non-specialist physicians. In contrast, patient-to-doctor medical care is a growing market, and via direct-to-consumer services, patients can reach physicians via telemedicine. The three distinct types of telemedicine services are synchronous, asynchronous, and remote monitoring. Synchronous refers to the delivery of health information in real-time. This allows for a live discussion with the patient or provider to deliver medical expertise. Another type of a live (or synchronous) telemedicine visit is a Facilitated Virtual Visit (FVV). An example of a facilitated virtual visit occurs when the patient is located at an accessible site (i.e. clinic ) where diagnostic equipment is available and the medical provider is at a distant site. Here, a telefacilitator (i.e. medical assistant,nurse, etc) gathers objective measures using equipment (i.e. digital stethoscope, thermometer, pulse oximeter, etc) and transmits this data to the provider. Asynchronous telemedicine refers to the “store-and-forward” technique, whereas a patient or physician collects medical history, images, and pathology reports and then sends it to a specialist physician for diagnostic and treatment expertise. Finally, remote patient monitoring involves continuous evaluation of a patient’s clinical status, whether through direct video monitoring of the patient or via review of tests and images collected remotely. Newer technologies, such as mobile applications on devices, allows for a wider breadth of telehealth possibilities.

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