When we think about healthcare, images of doctor’s office or emergency room visits often come to mind. Up until now, the norm has been for patients and healthcare providers to leave their homes to go get treated or offer treatment at some physical healthcare facility. But this has shifted rapidly over the last few years. Following the COVID-19 pandemic, remote healthcare has become more important and popular than ever before. Consequently, more and more individuals are seeking information about the remote healthcare options available to them, namely:  Telemedicine, Telehealth, and Telecare.

Thanks to incredible progress in communications and information technologies, it is now possible for healthcare providers to supply reliable, remote, interactive services to those who need it. An increasing number of organizations are taking advantage of Telemedicine, Telehealth, and Telecare. These terms have gained in popularity and are sometimes used interchangeably. While they all comprise cost-effective healthcare solutions and can all be accessed remotely using smartphones, tablets, and computers, these three concepts have unique distinctions. Here are the differences between these increasingly popular terms.

Telemedicine 

Telemedicine can be defined as using communications and information technologies to assist doctors and healthcare providers in delivering various health and medical, diagnostic or treatment-related services. These may include diagnostic tests, monitoring patients progress after treatment or therapy or facilitating access to specialists that are not located geographically close to the patient.

Telemedicine is a subset of Telehealth that refers only to remote clinical healthcare services. It involves using electronic communication and information technologies to supply clinical services to patients at a distance without the need for physical visit. It is most usually used for follow-ups, management of chronic illnesses, specialist consultations, medication management, and other services that can be supplied remotely through video conferencing. It also aids in reducing ER visits and hospitalizations. It offers great potential for delivering faster, better, less expensive, and more convenient healthcare.

The global telemedicine market is expected to grow at a CAGR of 15.3% to reach US$ 52.3 billion by 2022. The increasing prevalence of chronic illnesses, the growing number of people connected to the internet, and the aging population across different geographies are some of the factors responsible for the rising demand for telemedicine services.

 Telehealth 

Telehealth is similar to telemedicine. The difference is that it includes a wider range of remote healthcare services beyond the doctor-patient relationship. It often comprises healthcare services provided by nurses, pharmacists or social workers, who help with health education, social support, or medication adherence, just to name a few.

The term Telehealth refers to the distribution of health-related services and information using electronic information and communication technologies. It covers a wide range of remote healthcare services to provide patient care and improve the healthcare delivery system. It often refers to non-clinical services, such as provider training, administrative meetings, and continuing medical education. It uses electronic information and communication technologies to support long-distance healthcare, patient and professional health-related education, public health, and health administration. Telehealth technologies include video-conferencing, store-and-forward imaging, streaming media, and wireless communications.

The global telehealth market is expected to grow at a CAGR of 28.6% to reach US$ 26.7 billion by 2025. North-America and Europe are expected to dominate the global telehealth market during the forecast period due to an increase in services and economic growth in these regions.

Telecare 

Telecare generally refers to technologies that allow consumers to stay safe and independent in their own homes.  These may include consumer-oriented health and fitness apps, sensors and tools that connect consumers with family members or other caregivers, exercise tracking tools, digital medication reminder systems or early warning and detection technologies.

Telecare is a type of remote healthcare for less physically abled people or the elderly, providing the care and reassurance needed to allow such populations to keep living in their own homes. It involves the use of wearable devices and sensors, which can provide support for individuals with illnesses such as dementia, or at risk of falling for example. Mobile telecare is an emerging service where state-of-the-art technology and mobile devices with roaming SIMs are used to enable patients to go outside their home, but still have a 24/7 telecare service available to support them.

The global telecare devices market is expected to post a CAGR of close to 9% during the forecast period from 2018 – 2022. Telecare services include monitoring, diagnostics, communication, consultation, and training to maintain independent quality of life for users.

Rethink Benefits for the Future

The terms used to describe broadband-enabled interactions and remote healthcare include Telemedicine, Telehealth, and Telecare.  “Telehealth” evolved from the word “telemedicine.”  “Telecare” is a similar term that you generally hear in Europe.  All three of these words are often – but not always – used interchangeably.  They can also have different meanings depending on who you ask.  And that’s precisely why you should ask your doctor, your insurance provider, your nurse, anyone who’s part of your health and care universe exactly what these terms mean to them. 

With JungoHR’s healthcare tools you receive 24/7 virtual health consultations and services available for all employees and their family members, keeping your employees healthy, happy, and productive. Book a conversation with us now!

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