Definitions of Telemedicine Fields

Author: Disabled World
Published: 2015/01/23 - Updated: 2023/02/23
Peer-Reviewed: N/A
Contents: Summary - Main - Related Publications

Synopsis: Glossary list and descriptions of various fields and terms used in Telemedicine electronic communication. The term "eHealth" is used more so in the EU, including the U.K., and as a term that covers all aspects, including telehealth, electronic medical records, and other broad areas of health information technology. The American Telemedicine Association (ATA) uses telemedicine and telehealth interchangeably, although it acknowledges that telehealth is used more broadly for remote health not involving active clinical treatments.


Telemedicine is defined as the use of telecommunication and information technology used to provide clinical health care from a distance. Telemedicine has been used to overcome distance barriers and improve access to medical services often unavailable in remote communities. However, the definition of telemedicine is controversial. Some definitions include all aspects of healthcare - including preventive care. For example, The term "eHealth" is used more so in the EU, including the U.K., and as a term that covers all aspects, including telehealth, electronic medical records, and other broad areas of health information technology. The American Telemedicine Association (ATA) uses telemedicine and telehealth interchangeably, although it acknowledges that telehealth is used more broadly for remote health not involving active clinical treatments.

Main Digest

Types of Telemedicine

The three types of telemedicine services are synchronous, asynchronous, and remote monitoring.

Continued below image.
A doctor is writing in a notebook while conversing via laptop computer with a remote patient.
A doctor is writing in a notebook while conversing via laptop computer with a remote patient.

Telemedicine Terms and Descriptions

Emergency Telemedicine
Common daily emergency telemedicine is performed by SAMU Regulator Physicians in France, Spain, Chile, and Brazil. SAMU centers in Paris, Lisbon, and Toulouse also handle aircraft and maritime emergencies.
General Health Care Delivery
The first interactive telemedicine system, operating over standard telephone lines, designed to remotely diagnose and treat patients requiring cardiac resuscitation (defibrillation) was developed and launched by an American company, MedPhone Corporation, in 1989.
Mobile Health (mHealth)
There is no standard definition for the term mHealth, also known as mobile health; however, in general, mHealth apps are classified as health apps that are available on mobile devices, such as smartphones, tablets, or phablets, that can be used by both patients and their health care providers. The Global Observatory for eHealth of the World Health Organization (WHO) defines mHealth as "medical and public health practice supported by mobile devices, such as mobile phones, patient monitoring devices, personal digital assistants, and other wireless devices."
Ocular Telehealth
Through sophisticated retinal imaging equipment, eye scans of patients are captured and forwarded to remote specialists to scan for eye diseases; or evaluate, diagnose, and provide patient treatment.
The utilization of telehealth to provide audiological services may include the full scope of audiological practice.
ECGs, or electrocardiographs, can be transmitted using telephone and wireless.
The use of information technology and telecommunications for dental care, consultation, education, and public awareness in the same manner as telehealth and telemedicine.
A sub-specialty in the medical field of dermatology and one of the more common applications of telemedicine and e-health. In teledermatology, telecommunication technologies are used to exchange medical information (concerning skin conditions and tumors of the skin) over a distance using audio, visual, and data communication.
Many smaller and remote hospitals can't afford a doctor on the premises 24/7. A TeleHospitalist is a physician who may be located remotely but available to these hospitals at any time.
A telemedicine service initially developed for smaller and remote hospitals, which may have difficulty providing care for patients in intensive care units (ICUs). TeleICU services involve specialists in critical care that use equipment to remotely monitor the condition of ICU patients in several hospitals and provide treatment and emergency guidance to the remote hospital staff.
The application of telehealth-based communications (i.e., video teleconferencing) to neuropsychological services. This includes remote neuropsychological consultation and assessment, wherein patients with known or suspected cognitive disorders are evaluated using standard neuropsychological assessment procedures administered via video teleconference (VTC) technology.
Refers to the use of telecommunications and information technology in providing nursing services whenever a large physical distance exists between patient and nurse or between any number of nurses. As a field, it is part of telehealth. It has many points of contact with other medical and non-medical applications, such as telediagnosis, teleconsultation, telemonitoring, etc.
A branch of telemedicine that delivers eye care through digital medical equipment and telecommunications technology. Today, applications of teleophthalmology encompass access to eye specialists for patients in remote areas, ophthalmic disease screening, diagnosis and monitoring, and distant learning.
The practice of pathology at a distance. It uses telecommunications technology to facilitate the transfer of image-rich pathology data between distant locations for diagnosis, education, and research.
The delivery of pharmaceutical care via telecommunications to patients in locations where they may not have direct contact with a pharmacist. It is an instance of the wider phenomenon of telemedicine, as implemented in the pharmacy field. Telepharmacy services include drug therapy monitoring, patient counseling, prior authorization and refill authorization for prescription drugs, and monitoring of formulary compliance with teleconferencing or videoconferencing.
Telepsychiatry - (TelePsychiatry, TeleMental Health) - Utilizes videoconferencing for patients residing in underserved areas to access psychiatric services. It offers patients and providers various services, such as consultation between psychiatrists, clinical and educational programs, diagnosis and assessment, medication therapy management, and routine follow-up meetings.
The ability to send radiographic images (x-rays, CT, MR, PET/CT, SPECT/CT, MG, US...) from one location to another. For this process to be implemented, three essential components are required, an image-sending station, a transmission network, and a receiving-image review station.
The delivery of rehabilitation services over telecommunication networks and the Internet. Most services include clinical assessment (the patient's functional abilities in their environment) and clinical therapy. Some fields of rehabilitation practice that have explored telerehabilitation are neuropsychology, speech-language pathology, audiology, occupational therapy, and physical therapy.
TeleStroke generally involves equipping first responders with equipment that allows physicians to remotely diagnose symptoms of potential stroke victims and instruct the local team on appropriate immediate treatment(s).
Telesurgery - Remote surgery
Performance of surgical procedures where the surgeon is not physically in the same location as the patient, using a robotic teleoperator system controlled by the surgeon. The remote operator may give tactile feedback to the user. Remote surgery combines elements of robotics and high-speed data connections.
Teletrauma Care
Telemedicine for trauma triage: Using telemedicine, trauma specialists can interact with personnel on the scene of a mass casualty or disaster situation, via the Internet using mobile devices, to determine the severity of injuries. They can provide clinical assessments and determine whether those injured must be evacuated for necessary care. Remote trauma specialists can provide the same quality of clinical assessment and care plan as a trauma specialist located physically with the patient.
Videotelephony uses technologies to receive and transmit audio-video signals for real-time communication between people at different locations. Videotelephony is particularly useful to the deaf and speech-impaired, who can use them with sign language and video relay services, and for people with mobility problems or those in need of telemedical or tele-educational services in remote areas.
Virtual Care
Virtual care is a broad term encompassing how healthcare providers interact with their patients without seeing them in person. In addition to treating patients using telemedicine, doctors will use live video, audio, and instant messaging to communicate with their patients.

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