The state of California uses the term telehealth, though some providers and payors may use the term telemedicine when referring to the provision of health care at a distance. While the term telemedicine has been commonly used in the past, telehealth is a more universal term that covers a broad array of applications in the field. Its use crosses most health service disciplines including dentistry, counseling, physical therapy, and home health, among other domains.
Ideally, there should not be any regulatory distinction between a service delivered via telehealth and service delivered in person. Both should be held to the same quality and practice standards. The “tele-” descriptor should ultimately fade from use as these technologies seamlessly integrate into health care delivery systems. Note that while a connection exists between health information technology (HIT), health information exchange (HIE), and telehealth, neither HIT nor HIE is considered telehealth.