What's the Difference Between Telemedicine and Telehealth?

Telemedicine comprises the applications of health telematics, which are purely medical in nature and which support the medical and treatment-related cooperation between members of the health professions and with patients in the context of prevention, diagnostics, therapy and rehabilitation. Among other things, tele-surveillance, tele-second opinion or tele-cardiology belongs in this area of ​​health telematics.

Aids in Telemedicine

Health and medical apps: Software that supports a healthy lifestyle, such as a healthy diet, is often referred to as a health app. Software that helps patients or their relatives to cope with an illness such as neuro-dermatitis or diabetes is known as medical app. Medical apps can also support treatment by medical professionals. They can be installed on the smartphone, tablet, laptop or desktop computer. Depending on the intended use, both applications can be classified as medical devices. As soon as it has a primarily medical purpose, the software must go through a conformity procedure.

Online Video Consultation

The online video consultation is a conversation between doctor and patient via a certified video service provider. Communication is encrypted end-to-end and must take place without interference. The video consultation is used, for example, during control appointments. In order to conduct an online video consultation, first of all personal doctor-patient contact is required.

Areas of Application of Telehealth

Tele-surgery: With tele-surgery, the surgical intervention can be supported by a tele-consultation or the operation is carried out by a robot controlled by a doctor (computer-assisted surgery, CAS).

Tele-dermatology: Tele-dermatology is used to diagnose skin diseases, for example via an online video consultation. In addition, diseased areas of the skin, for example neuro-dermatitis or skin cancer, can be checked using a smartphone. To do this, the patient sends a photo to the attending physician and, depending on the application, enters further observations.

Tele-cardiology: In tele-cardiology, data, for example from a pacemaker or implantable cardioverter defibrillator, is transmitted online to a doctor or a treatment center. This is a tele-monitoring application.

Tele-pathology: In tele-pathology, digitized laboratory and image data are evaluated in specialized centers. Modern microscopes play an important role here, as they transmit the image data directly to the pathological center and can thus also be remotely controlled.

Tele-psychiatry: In the field of tele-psychiatry, it is a question of psychiatric therapy via an online video conference. In addition, applications on the smartphone can be used to query the patient’s emotional situation, for example.

Tele-radiology: In tele-radiology, standardized, radiological images (DICOM standard) are digitally transmitted to another location. The images must be checked by a doctor on a suitable monitor.

Tele-rehabilitation: With tele-rehabilitation, after an inpatient or outpatient treatment that requires medical rehabilitation, follow-up care is carried out at home using communication technologies. This can be a live online therapy, even with several participants, or software that guides the patient.

Difference between Telemedicine and Telehealth

We just need remember that the WHO also utilizes the word ‘telematics’ in order to introduce another term to the mix. According to them, ‘Telematics for health should be a composite word for telemedicine and tele-health or for any medical activity performed at a distance using ICT.’

Briefly, all kind of telemedicine is considered under tele-health, yet not all Telehealth is considered as telemedicine. They both form part of the major endeavor to extend access to care, facilitate patient health management and improve the healthcare delivery network’s efficiency.