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What is the Difference Between Telemedicine, Telehealth and mHealth?

There has been a lot of controversy and misuse regarding these 3 terms, so we figured we would clear the air here and enlighten everyone on the true definitions.

Telehealth refers to the provision of healthcare services by the application of telecommunication technologies to enhance access to quality healthcare in rural and urban communities across geographical distances. It offers patients access to the services of physicians and specialists, which they may not otherwise be able to within the easy reach of their local community, while minimizing healthcare expenses and reducing patient travel time.

Telehealth refers to a broader scope of provision of remote healthcare services than telemedicine. Telemedicine refers specifically to remote clinical services whereas teleheath can include remote non-clinical services, for instance, provider training, continuing medical education and administrative meetings apart from clinical services. An expansion of telemedicine which focuses on the curative aspect, telehealth encompasses preventative, promotive as well as curative aspects. Initially used to describe administrative or educational functions related to telemedicine, telehealth now transcends numerous technology solutions. It includes remote doctor-patient consultations i.e. telemedicine, remote monitoring of vital signs as well as health education services. Telehealth technology enables healthcare professionals to evaluate and diagnose patients remotely, prescribe treatment, e-prescribe medications and detect fluctuations in a patient’s medical condition even at home in addition to offering them the opportunity to alter therapy or medication accordingly. On the contrary, the scope of telemedicine is narrower and refers specifically to the provision of healthcare services and education over a distance through the usage of telecommunication technology.

The term mHealth or m-health is an abbreviation for mobile health and refers to a segment of eHealth. It refers to the provision of health services and information facilitated by the usage of mobile and wireless devices such as mobile phones, PDAs and tablet computers, for health services and information. One of the most common applications of mHealth is the use of mobile communication devices to educate consumers about preventive healthcare services. Mobile health applications are also used for treatment support, disease surveillance, monitoring epidemic outbreaks and chronic disease management.

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