According to the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), telehealth is defined as “the use of electronic information and telecommunications technologies to support long-distance clinical health care, patient and professional health-related education, public health and health administration. Technologies include videoconferencing, the internet, store-and-forward imaging, streaming media, and terrestrial and wireless communications.” Telehealth is much broader than telemedicine. Whereas telemedicine specifically refers to clinical services, telehealth refers to non-clinical services as well.
HRSA, one of the agencies I provide services to, works to increase and improve the use of telehealth to meet the needs of underserved people. This is accomplished by providing technical assistance, administering telehealth grant projects, fostering partnerships with other Federal, state and private organizations to create telehealth projects, and developing policy initiatives to improve access to quality health care services.
Our country is huge, and not everyone has immediate access to health care providers. Particularly here in Oregon, telehealth aids rural health care providers and promotes and improves patient-centered health care. For more information about how telehealth can help your practice, here are some useful resources: Health Toolbox; Medicaid TH; HRSA TH; and ATA.