These days, you can do almost anything online: shop, order dinner, pay bills and even chat with friends and family who live halfway around the world. Telehealth is bringing that same convenience to medicine, connecting doctors and patients remotely through the power of the Internet.
Strictly speaking, telehealth is the exchange of any medical information through electronic communication, and it takes many forms:
- Two-way video chats can connect doctors and patients for remote e-visits, allowing patients to get care for minor ailments without leaving home or work.
- Remote monitoring of vital signs enables doctors to keep tabs on a patient’s health without keeping her in the hospital.
- Online support groups can connect patients, caregivers and counselors from miles away.
These are just a few of the many examples of how telehealth is revolutionizing medicine, increasing access, convenience and affordability along the way.