The global telehealth market is blooming. Experts predict that it will generate over $40 billion by 2021.
Despite its rising popularity, this industry still isn’t fully understood. In fact, there are still many people who telehealth with telemedicine. Even though the two share similarities, they’re not the same thing.
More than 60 percent of Millennials say they prefer telehealth over in-office doctor visits. What they really mean is that they prefer telemedicine. This service involves diagnosing and treating patients with the help of remote technology.
Telehealth is a much broader term. It includes the technologies that allow medical professionals to provide remote services. These may include patient education apps, video conferencing software, and more.
Feeling confused? Let’s take a closer look at the differences between telehealth and telemedicine!
What’s Telehealth All About?
Telehealth refers to the technologies that make long-distance clinical health care possible. It involves more than just consulting patients over the Internet. Common uses include:
- General health information provided through smartphones
- Remote patient monitoring
- Live conferencing between doctors and patients
- Wireless communications
- Non-clinical services, such as hospital management software
- Virtual diagnosis and treatment
As you see, telemedicine is just one of the many telehealth services available. Yet, most patients and medical professionals use these terms interchangeably.
Some examples are the American Telemedicine Association and the World Health Organization. The WHO, for instance, notes the difference between the two, but still blurs the lines.
How Does Telemedicine Work?
Think of telemedicine as a specialized service. Basically, it’s the technology that allows doctors to diagnose and treat patients via the Internet.
This term was coined in the ’70s and means “healing at a distance.”
For example, patients struggling with digestive distress can chat live with a doctor and describe their symptoms. The healthcare provider will ask questions about their diet and eating habits, so he can identify the cause of the problem. He may recommend dietary changes, supplements, or medications.
Telemedicine benefits both the doctor and patient. It’s convenient and more affordable compared to traditional medical services. Why wait in line at the doctor’s office when you can contact him online to receive the treatment you need?
More and more companies are offering this service to their employees. According to a 2014 study, U.S. employers could save a whopping $6 billion annual by switching to telemedicine.
Telehealth and Telemedicine: The Future of Healthcare
Without a doubt, these emerging technologies are disrupting the healthcare industry. Patients can save time and money without compromising on quality. Furthermore, telehealth and telemedicine allow people worldwide to receive treatment from top experts.
Imagine you were living in a small town or traveling to a foreign country. If you got sick, finding medical health wouldn’t be easy. You’d have to ask around, check prices, and drive long distances just to see a doctor.
With telemedicine, you can receive help within minutes. All you need is a computer connected to the Internet. Simply choose a healthcare provider, check his schedule, and make an appointment at your convenience.
Eager to learn more about telehealth services? Check out our blog! We’ll show you exactly how this technology works and what makes it so great.