Did you know that professional healthcare services are gradually shifting towards virtual healthcare in the US? Research shows that almost 60% of American households that enjoy broadband access are now keen to get remote care that can happen via the telephone or online. So, patients are now slowly attracted by the prospect of healthcare services that can come home to them and not the other way around. They are looking at virtual healthcare as a means to get in touch with doctors and nurses, and any other healthcare professional, from their homes.

Digital technology has now made it easy for healthcare professionals to get in touch with patients, thereby eliminating all kinds of barriers that had so far prevented a patient from being able to access medical treatments. Using live audio and video streaming, instant messaging, etc patients can communicate comfortably with doctors and healthcare providers without having to step outside their homes. This is rather beneficial especially for those residing in rural areas where so far they would have had to drive down for miles to get to a doctor’s chamber or consult a specialist.

Telehealth is really the use of communication and information technologies like mobile devices and computers to access health services remotely; these technologies can be used from your own homes while the doctor, on his part, uses these to offer better healthcare facilities. Telemedicine refers to treatment of medical conditions where the patients is not physically examined or seen by the doctor. So, healthcare professionals use different technologies to address patient queries and concerns, and can diagnose conditions from a distance. Telehealth allows doctors to offer their medical advice remotely, to walk patient through at-home exercises, or even recommend them to a local facility or healthcare provider. Today, there are several telemedicine apps offering patients uninhibited access to healthcare straight from their tablets or smartphones.

This does not however mean you can get all types of health concerns addressed. Telemedicine is best for treating specific conditions like common illnesses, manage chronic ailments, or extend specialist services. When a patient is in a serious condition that needs emergency attention, the advisors will always request them to get in-person care. Telehealth enables checking in post in-person visits, for monitoring vitals post-surgery, or for responding to questions concerning the diagnosis or treatment of a condition. In short, virtual healthcare will look into ways doctors and patients can use digital tools for communicating in real time.

While both patients and doctors are new to these terms, it is imperative that they understand what these mean and how these terms are interlinked. It is quite natural for patients to get confused when they hear such terms for the first time. So, it is the duty of healthcare providers to resolve their doubts. Virtual healthcare can be arranged through virtual conferences between patients and doctors; that way patients can simply log onto a conference instead of having to travel to another city. This also makes it easier for patients to get second opinions on a diagnosis faster. As time progresses, virtual healthcare may be used for monitoring serious conditions like diabetes. So, virtual healthcare is often used interchangeably with telemedicine or telehealth but it is not one and the same thing.

Telehealth is a wide category of solutions or services for patients from a distance; this could doctor visits virtually or management of chronic conditions remotely. It encompasses multiple technologies which can be used for gathering and exchanging information. Virtual healthcare is a component of telehealth.