Differences Between Telehealth and Telemedicine
2020 has changed the way that people receive the healthcare they need. With COVID-19 cases continuing to rise, medical professionals are trying to limit the amount of foot traffic in healthcare facilities. Telehealth and telemedicine have become popular options to achieve the remote care that patients need, but what exactly is the difference?
Telehealth is a way of providing healthcare services, education, and information remotely. Telehealth is an umbrella term that refers to both clinical and non-clinical care that’s done remotely. This includes things like health education, provider training, and even administrative meetings for those in the healthcare system. Telehealth has been extremely beneficial in protecting all types of healthcare workers, and those that train them, against COVID-19.
Telemedicine refers strictly to clinical care done remotely. This means that telemedicine only covers direct clinical services that a patient would traditionally visit a medical facility for. Telemedicine is most commonly used for things like follow-up visits, managing chronic conditions, patient consultation, and medication management. When a patient needs to speak with a healthcare professional about something that they’ve dealt with before and are familiar with, an office visit isn’t necessary, and telemedicine solves that problem. Telemedicine reduces both the patient and the providers risk of exposure to COVID-19, while still giving them the care that they need.
What Can’t Be Done Using Telehealth or Telemedicine?
Health conditions that require testing or injuries that require physical treatment cannot be done remotely. If a patient is experiencing a new medical condition, an office visit will likely be required to ensure they get an accurate diagnosis and treatment plan.
Booking a Tele-Appointment
You can have telemedicine appointment with your local urgent care center by visiting their website or calling them. Telehealth and telemedicine are typically available to schedule very quickly so that your needs can be addressed ASAP. If you have a tele-appointment and your provider determines you need further testing or care, you may be asked to come for a face-to-face visit, although starting with a remote consultation first is always a good idea!
If you need COVID-19 testing, a flu vaccine, or other care that requires a visit in person, remember to wear a mask and practice social distancing during the visit. Contact your healthcare provider before arriving to inquire about what they’re doing to protect their patients and staff from COVID-19.