Telehealth is the use of information and communication technology to deliver health services, expertise and information over distance. It includes Internet or web-based "e-health" and video-based applications, and can be delivered real-time (live) or through store-and-forward (record now, view later) mode.
Telehealth is changing the way we think about health and provide healthcare. It supports innovations in health, as well as in healthcare delivery, health education, and distribution of health related information such as medical records. Telehealth is adding value.
Telehealth is also changing the way we think about health and conduct healthcare around the world. It is a unique global tool which has the capability to cross all existing geographical, temporal, political, social and cultural barriers within the health sector. Telehealth will impact us all.
Telehealth can provide benefits to individual patients, family members or health care providers, and to community organizations, healthcare facilities, and governments. Examples of the benefits of telehealth are given below.
- Improve the way patients and their families access information and learn
- Result in improved health outcomes for patients
- Empower consumers and communities by providing accessible health education and decision-making options
- Improve the way healthcare providers deliver care, access information, and learn
- Enhance recruitment and retention of healthcare providers in rural or remote areas
- Lower healthcare costs, reduce travel, minimize time off work, and decrease patient waiting time
- Decrease self-reported patient anxiety
- Eliminate unnecessary repeat diagnostic procedures or tests
- Improve and hasten early diagnostic capabilities
- Improve administrative and communication capabilities
- Improve emergency triage