While telemedicine means that many different medical conditions are treated without an in person meeting with the patient, virtual care is a broader term that includes all of the ways healthcare providers interact with their patients.
The healthcare industry is developing at a rapid pace and healthcare providers are looking for ways to make patients more accessible to healthcare while reducing costs. One of the most important advantages of digitalization is that the developing technology facilitates the communication of healthcare professionals with patients and enables patients to reach the health services they need by removing the borders.
Today, patients can communicate with healthcare providers from where they sit, and even receive services, through an interface, thanks to digital technologies such as live video, audio, and instant messaging. These important advantages of digitalization provide great benefits, especially for those who live in rural areas and need to go a long way to be able to visit a doctor.
New terms such as telemedicine and virtual care in the health industry cause significant confusion in the sector. That's why healthcare professionals need to make sure they use the correct language when educating patients about these new digital technology tools. In order to avoid confusion in the field of health, it is necessary to have more information about these two terms and to know how the terms relate to the digitalization of health services.
The term telemedicine has many meanings, but if it is necessary to make a definition in general, Telemedicine means that many different medical conditions are treated without an in person meeting with the patient. Healthcare providers can listen to the patient's concerns and examine their condition remotely through video, audio or instant messaging methods. Remote examination includes practices such as medical advice, home exercises, or local healthcare providers or offices.
Beyond all these, telemedicine applications that enable patients to access healthcare services from their phones or tablets significantly increase the quality and speed of service. Naturally, remotely treating some conditions can be a big problem. Telemedicine is often used for the treatment of common illnesses, management of chronic conditions, or to provide special services. If a patient is facing an emergency or serious illness, remote healthcare professionals advise them to seek in person treatment.
An example of this communication can be the control performed after in person examination, monitoring important data after surgery, answering any questions about the examination or a treatment plan. To summarize briefly, virtual care includes all of the digital tools used by doctors and patients to communicate in real time.
While telemedicine refers to the concept of long distance patient care, virtual care is a much broader concept that refers to a variety of digital health services.
While doctors and patients can take advantage of technology using digital tools, they should be aware of what the concepts used mean and how they relate to other tools. It is understandable for patients who do not have the chance to meet face to face with healthcare providers to define these concepts as complex.
This is why healthcare professionals need to help patients understand the differences between these concepts in order to establish a clear understanding of what digital health tools are used.
When discussing the digitalization of health services, it is much more correct to use the term of virtual care instead of the term of telemedicine. Because while the term of telemedicine draws a very narrow framework, the term of virtual care helps to create a much bigger picture in modern health services.
In addition, you can get detailed information about healthcare analytics by reading our article titled Why Has Healthcare Analytics Become a Necessity? See you on different topics.