Telehealth – the Benefits & the Risks

October 5, 2020

Telehealth is the distribution of health-related services and information via electronic information and telecommunication technologies It allows for long-distance patient and medical practitioner contact, care, advice, education, intervention, monitoring, and remote admissions. Telemedicine is sometimes used as a synonym or in a more limited sense to describe remote clinical services, such as diagnosis and monitoring.

When rural settings, lack of transport and mobility, a lack of (professional) staff or stay-at-home directives to contain the spread of a pandemic restrict access to care, telehealth may bridge the gap.

The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has vastly expanded the use of telehealth: with much of the world shutting down to contain the virus, many (non-acute) care patients have shifted to virtual visits. While this shift offers some significant benefits, it also carries significant risks with it, not just for healthcare providers but also for their patients.