Information Resources

By Evelyn Cunico, MA, MS/LIS
Posted June 28, 2018

What Is Telehealth?

Telehealth is part of the broad field of Health Internet Technology (Health IT). Specifically, Telehealth is the use of communications technologies that provide health care from a distance.

Terms often used interchangeably with Telehealth include, Connected Health, Electronic Health (e-health), Mobile Health (m-health), and Telemedicine.

What Are Benefits of Telehealth Technologies?

  • Mobile Health (m-Health) is a technology that uses your mobile device to talk with or text your provider. You can use health apps to track your blood sugar levels, or diet and exercise results, and then share information with your medical providers.
  • Online Patient Portals allow you to e-mail your medical doctor, request prescription refills, schedule appointments, and see your test results. Medical providers must use computer software that keeps your health records more secure than if you used an e-mail account that is outside of an Online Patient Portal.
  • Remote Patient Monitoring (RPM) is a technology that monitors your health from your home. For example, in diabetes management, the real-time transmission of blood glucose and blood pressure readings enables immediate alerts for patients and healthcare providers, according to the National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering.

What Are Drawbacks of Telehealth Technologies?

  • Computer-driven decision-making might not be the best, if you have a complex medical history.
  • Essential information from your medical history may not be considered.
  • Telehealth services do not allow for easy doctor-patient decision-making about possible alternative treatments.
  • Virtual patient visits cannot include an in-person evaluation, without which an accurate diagnosis might not be possible.

Does Health Insurance Pay for Telehealth Services?

Not all health insurance companies pay for all telehealth services. Also, services may be limited for persons with Medicare or Medicaid. In addition, states have different standards for services that they will cover. Always check with your insurance company to be sure that Telehealth services will be covered.

More Information

For more information on Telehealth, see the Selected Information Resources that follow this blog post. You may also search online or ask a Reference Librarian at your local Public Library.

Disclaimer: The information presented in this blog should not replace the medical advice of your doctor. You should not use this information to diagnose or treat any disease, illness, or other health condition without first consulting with your medical doctor or other healthcare provider.

Selected Information Resources

American Health Information Management Association. What Is a Personal Health Record (PHR)?
Summary Note: Describes how you can compile, organize, and maintain your own Personal Health Record to help manage your health. Explains the difference between a Medical Record and a Personal Health Record.
(Accessed 23 June 2018)

American Telemedicine Association. Telemedicine glossary.
Summary Note: Alphabetical list defines more than 100 items.
(Accessed 23 June 2018)

Center for Connected Health Policy. Telehealth Medicaid and State Policy.
Summary Note: The Center for Connected Health Policy (CCHP) is a program of the Public Health Institute. CCHP was created in 2008 by the California Health Care Foundation. The National Telehealth Policy Resource Center project is made possible by the Office for the Advancement of Telehealth, Health Resources and Services Administration, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The CCHP annual survey and analysis of state Telehealth laws and reimbursement policies shows that no two states approach Telehealth in the same way.
(Accessed 26 June 2018)

Feltes, Jordan, Michael Push, and Avik Som. Messaging System Helps Caregivers Keep Tabs on Growing Number of Patients with Substance Use Disorder. New England Journal of Medicine Catalyst. April 17, 2018.
Summary Note: Describes a patient outreach automated text and phone call based mobile messaging system that integrates into a community substance abuse recovery program. Explains how the texting program works and specifies time and dollars saved.
(Accessed 23 June 2018)

HealthIT dot gov.
Summary Note: Official website of the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC). Information for patients and healthcare providers about how health information technology can provide privacy and security.
(Accessed 23 June 2018)

HealthyPeople dot gov. HealthyPeople 2020. Health Communication and Health Information Technology. Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion.
Summary Note: Provides science-based ten-year objectives for improving the health of Americans through health communication strategies and health information technology.
(Accessed 23 June 2018)

Mayo Clinic. Healthy Lifestyle. Consumer Health. Telehealth: Technology Meets Healthcare. See How Technology Can Improve Your Health Care.
Summary Note: discusses a variety of Telehealth tools to help you manage your healthcare. Provides examples of how you might use remote services, such as mobile phones, nursing call centers, online patient portals, and Personal Health Records.
(Accessed 23 June 2018)

National Institutes of Health. National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering (NIBIB). Science Education. Telehealth.
Summary Note: Defines types of Telehealth technologies and how they are improving medical care now. Also discusses new devices that NIBIB-funded researchers are developing in the area of Telehealth.
(Accessed 23 June 2018)

National Institutes of Health. U.S. National Library of Medicine. MedlinePlus. Medical Encyclopedia. Telehealth.
Summary Note: Medical Encyclopedia entry on Telehealth includes sections on How to Use Telehealth, Benefit of Telehealth, and Telehealth and Insurance.
(Accessed 23 June 2018)

Sauerwein, Kristina. Text Messaging Tool May Help Fight Opioid Epidemic. News Release. April 17, 2018. Washington State University School of Medicine in St. Louis.
Summary Note: News Release discusses article by Jordan Feltes and other authors cited in this list of Selected Information Resources. Describes how a new automated text messaging service may curb opioid abuse and reduce likelihood of relapse.
(Accessed 23 June 2018)