Telehealth is a broad term used to describe a range of functions spanning the entire continuum of public health and clinical care. At the front end, patient screening and learning tools improve disease awareness and patient education. For example, a website or mobile application might include self-assessment questionnaires and patient education.

At the other end of the care continuum, EHR facilitate the aggregation, storage, and sharing of patient health information. “Store and forward” technologies facilitate remote sharing of information at different points along this continuum, for example when a sleep physician interprets data from an HST remotely, then returns a complete report to the referring physician.

Telemedicine, a specific subset of telehealth, involves the direct, real-time provision of clinical services. Most states require telemedicine to include both audio and video communication, and telephone conversations typically do not meet the legal definitions of telemedicine.

For more, read Wickwire’ telehealth series:

Part 1: Promises and Pitfalls of Telehealth

Part 2: Advancing Organizational Objectives with Telehealth

EmersonWickwire, PhDEmerson M. Wickwire, PhD, is sleep medicine program director at The Howard County Center for Lung and Sleep Medicine in Columbia, Md, and assistant professor at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine. He is a recognized expert in leveraging technology to  improve patient care. Submit questions and comments to [email protected].