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Expanding Healthcare Accessibility through Telehealth

Updated: Mar 25

Telehealth includes both clinical and non-clinical services remotely. It also includes telemedicine, which is defined as online care provided by a medical professional and can be accessed in any place where a device with an internet connection is available.


Telehealth, in its modern form, began in 1960 and mainly focused on diagnosis and clinical management. Telehealth can include video calls with medical professionals, secure messaging between patients and medical professionals, and monitoring of medical information such as vital signs via a device at home. While telehealth may not be insured by federal statute, states can choose to include telehealth in their Medicaid programs.


The services provided by telehealth can include lab tests and x-ray results, post-surgical follow-ups, therapy, skin condition information, prescription management and information, and address some minor urgent care conditions such as a cold.


Additionally, telehealth provides many benefits including cost-effective care, shortened wait times for appointments, increased access to specialists from different regions, access to healthcare in remote locations, decreased travel time, and reduced need for time taken off from work and childcare services.


Due to telehealth being accessible to any person with an internet connection, it has a growing importance in rural communities where the closest doctor’s office or hospital may be dozens of miles or more away.


Sources



“What Is Telehealth? How Is Telehealth Different from Telemedicine?” HealthIT.gov, 17 



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