What is Telemedicine and Telehealth?

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You do everything else on the internet, why not start seeing your doctor that way?

First, let’s get the boring (see fancy) definition out of the way.

The American Telemedicine Association defines telemedicine as the use of medical information exchanged from one site to another via electronic communications to improve patients’ health status.

They go on to define telehealth as a broader definition of remote healthcare that does not always involve clinical services. Videoconferencing, transmission of still images, e-health including patient portals, remote monitoring of vital signs, continuing medical education and nursing call centers are all considered part of telemedicine and telehealth.

Or, more simply put, telehealth can be used to describe things on both side of the fence. Your side as the patient and for the doctors and nurses use as well.

A Practical Definition

Here’s my definition, which will probably be closer to what you’re looking or hoping telemedicine can do for you.

It’s essentially your ability to communicate with a doctor on demand, 24 hours a day, seven days a week and 365 days a year. You can do that through a traditional phone call, text messaging, or a full video conference.

But that doesn’t really answer the whole question. Let’s run through a few more questions you’re probably asking yourself about this radically new service.

How Much Does Telemedicine Cost?

We’re kinda in the Wild West of telemedicine right now and there are several different pricing models out there.

The first is reminiscent of how you would traditionally pay for a doctor’s visit with a copay from your health insurance policy.

Meaning you’re going to have a fixed fee you pay for each visit, in most cases that fee is around $40. The best example of this would be a company call Doctors on Demand.

Then there’s the Netflix model. Pay a monthly subscription to have a doctor on call in your pocket whenever or wherever you need.

From what I can tell the only company offering this flat monthly fee is a company called Teladoc, which wholesales its service to people like us.

This process allows us and others to build custom packages with other benefits like dental, vision and pharmacy discounts in with it.

These packages can range between $12-$20 a month depending on what’s included.

If you want, you can take a look at the one we were able to put together.