What is Telehealth?

Lesson 2 of 15

Telehealth is a collection of means or methods for enhancing health care, public health, and health education delivery and support using telecommunications technologies.


Today, telehealth encompasses four distinct domains of applications. These are commonly known as:

1. Live Video/Telemedicine (Synchronous):

Live, two-way interaction between a person and a provider using audiovisual telecommunications technology.

•For example: Meet face to face with patients using live video to have discussions and provide treatment

2. Store-and-Forward & eConsult (Asynchronous):

Transmission of pre-recorded health history through an electronic communications system to a practitioner who uses the information to evaluate the case or render a service outside of a real-time or live interaction.

•For example: Obtain images for diagnostic purposes using specialized scopes and cameras. Capture, store, and then forward images to remote providers who can make a diagnosis and provide treatment recommendations

3. Remote Patient Monitoring (RPM):

Personal health and medical data collection from an individual in one location via electronic communication technologies, which is transmitted to a provider in a different location for use in care and related support.

•For example: Monitor patient behavior, health status, and the impact of patients’ daily activities on their health status remotely.

4. Direct to Patient (Direct to Consumer):

Direct to Patient visits are live video visits where providers engage with patients directly, often when the patient is at home or another location. These visits can include a clinician seeing their own patient, or they could include a patient engaging with a telehealth company directly. Direct to Patient is often an integrated model that combines everything from the patient initial exam, diagnosis, treatment, and prescription fulfillment, if needed.

Common Telehealth Uses Include:

  • Allergy
  • Behavioral Health
  • Burn
  • Cardiology
  • Child Development
  • Dermatology
  • Emergency Services/Trauma
  • Endocrinology
  • Gastroenterology
  • Genetics
  • Hematology
  • Hepatology (Hepatitis A-E)
  • HIV and Aids
  • Home Health
  • Infectious Diseases
  • Medication Adherence
  • Nephrology
  • Neurology
  • Neurosurgery
  • Nutrition
  • Pediatric PM&R
  • Pediatric Psychology
  • Pediatric Rheumatology
  • Primary Care
  • OB/GYN
  • Occupational Medicine
  • Oncology
  • Ophthalmology
  • Orthopedic Surgery
  • Orthopedics
  • Otolaryngology
  • Pain Management
  • Palliative Care
  • Pediatric Critical Care
  • Pediatric Dermatology
  • Pediatric Endocrinology
  • Pediatric Gastroenterology
  • Pediatric Genetics
  • Pediatric Hematology/Oncology
  • Pediatric Nephrology
  • Pediatric Neurology
  • Pediatric Obesity
  • Pediatric Otolaryngology
  • Urology
  • Wound Care
  • And more!

Values From Other Perspectives


• Accessibility: care when and where they need it

• Affordability: reduces travel time, expense and time away from work/family

• Timeliness: reduces wait time to access specialists

• Integrated and coordinated, “team approach” to care


• Keeps patients local whenever possible

• Promotes rapid diagnosis and treatment linked to improved patient outcomes

• Improves outcomes and therefore improves health of population

Primary Care Providers

• Promotes coordinated care

• Reduces provider isolation

• Maintains primary relationship with patient

• Promotes greater patient satisfaction

• Generates revenue – visit reimbursement

• Access to education

• Working at top of scope


• Extends reach to patients

• Teaching and partnership with PCP reduces the need for future, same-type referrals

• Promotes coordinated care

Health Plans

• Promotes timely access to care

• Increases “provider availability” in geographically challenged areas

• Cost savings on patient transportation