This is the age of medicine and technology, and as we move closer to our goal of achieving the highest level of technology in healthcare, the debate continues about whether or not telehealth or telemedicine is the best solution. Which one is better? That is the question that everyone who is interested in medical science should be asking themselves. While it may not be clear to you as you read this, this article will discuss the differences between telehealth and telemedicine and determine if it really matters.
Telehealth refers to the process of allowing patients and doctors to meet in real time, just as if they were physically present in the same room. In this way, a patient can get a more intimate and personal service from a doctor than what can be provided with telemedicine. With telehealth, the doctors are usually present, but they are not directly involved in the patient’s life and they don’t have to “walk a mile in a patient’s shoes.” Telehealth, by definition, requires direct patient interaction. It is the closest to home-based care a patient can get.
Telehealth is usually more expensive than telemedicine, though it is possible to get telehealth at lower rates than telemedicine. You should also be aware that most doctors require that you meet with them in person, unless they are able to provide telemedicine through the patient’s insurance company. If you don’t have your own insurance, then a meeting at a hospital may be necessary.
Telehealth is much more likely to be used for an inpatient hospitalization. Since it is used for short-term treatments, it often includes activities such as therapy and nutrition. Most patients also require a visit to the pharmacy for medications, so the patient is less likely to see a doctor in their home. Because it is less costly than telemedicine, it is also more likely to be used for smaller services like visiting the dentist, swimming, or taking the child to a ballet class.
Telehealth has less emotional risk for the patient and there is less risk of conflict because the patient and the doctor are not physically present. This helps both the patient and the doctor to feel relaxed. You can also use your phone and computer and speak to your doctor directly.
Telehealth is also less likely to include out-of-network billing as there is a smaller risk of patient error. Most telehealth providers that specialize in delivering services to specific areas also have different billing codes for different geographic areas. The codes can also vary depending on the number of services you have received and can help you keep track of what has been covered and what remains unaddressed.
Since the interaction between the patient and the doctor is facilitated by a video connection, the patient feels in control and comfort. Because the doctor is available at any time to answer questions, patients are able to be as involved as possible in making decisions about treatment. This results in better overall health care and more personalized care.
Now that you know the differences between telehealth and telemedicine, you should make a decision about which one is right for you and your family. Make sure you take your time and weigh the benefits of both.