What is Telehealth?


Many people, experts even, use the terms telehealth, telemedicine, virtual care, remote patient monitoring (RPM), and chronic care management (CCM) interchangeably, when in fact, each has its own definition. In a recent blog, we dove deeper into RPM and its specific meaning, now let’s widen the lens and explore how telehealth differentiates itself within the marketplace.

While there is no single standard definition for telehealth, it is defined by the Health Resources Services Administration, 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.” Until very recently, telehealth was used mainly in situations where patients faced physical or financial obstacles to accessing quality healthcare. Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, however, telehealth became much more popular and was used regardless of distance and economic barriers to treatment. In fact, as part of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, the COVID-19 Telehealth Program was established to “help health care providers provide connected care services to patients at their homes or mobile locations in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.”

Telehealth refers to any content, tracking or exchange that a person engages in to track or optimize their health. This includes, but is not limited to:

  • Remote patient monitoring – using a computer, phone or tablet to create or maintain food and/or medication logs, and/or medical devices to monitor blood sugar levels, blood pressure, weight or any other metrics related to health and wellness, and sending the information to a healthcare professional for review;
  • Viewing a video or reading an article available on a care provider’s website or portal;
  • Using an online portal from a care provider to view test results, input health-related data, or request prescription refills;
  • Schedule or manage appointments with a healthcare provider;
  • Order medication or medical supplies online;
  • Send and receive texts, emails and reminders with a healthcare provider for preventive care.

It is important to note that telehealth is not necessarily limited to the delivery of services from a physician: rather, it can also refer to non-clinical services, and the healthcare provider can be licensed in other disciplines. Telemedicine, however, is more specific and just one component of telehealth, referring to a clinician providing healthcare services to a patient outside the traditional exam room or healthcare facility.

CareSimple integrates telehealth-driven care from the company’s clinical portal, allowing for secure video encounters, requesting patient questionnaires, and sharing evidence-based and multilingual educational content. This is paired with the company’s easy-to-use and scalable RPM solution that provides patients with cellular-enabled medical devices that transmit results in near real-time to the portal, giving providers a holistic view of patients’ health for improved outcomes.

For more information on telehealth, RPM, and more, visit our website and consult CareSimple’s Frequently Asked Questions.