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What is Telemedicine?

Telemedicine (sometimes called telehealth) is the remote delivery of health care services using telecommunications technology: internet, wireless services, satellite and telephone media. Telemedicine isn't a unique medical specialty--just a better, faster and more efficient way to deliver medical services. Nearly any health care service can be provided, at least in part, through telemedicine.

Some examples of telemedicine include:
  • Emailing your doctor for non-emergency medical issues
  • Connecting with a health care provider through a webcam or videoconference
  • Tracking your health and wellness through smartphone apps
  • Using remote monitoring equipment for 24/7 chronic care management
  • Connecting clinicians from one medical facility to patients in other locations
  • Outsourcing specific clinical specialities to lower costs and ensure 24 hour access to care
Telemedicine allows patients to access healthcare anywhere--even the comfort of their own home.

What are the advantages of telemedicine?

Traditional, in-person health care requires patients to schedule appointments, take time off of work, and travel to an office or clinic--even for relatively minor health concerns. Alternatively, patients can use the Emergency Room or urgent care services, racking up huge bills for basic health care services. Telemedicine simplifies the process of getting quality health care and offers multiple benefits to patients:

  • Greater Access
    Telemedicine makes it easier to access health care by removing geographic barriers between the patient and provider. Patients can access medical service regardless of where their are located from the comfort of their own home. Moreover, telemedicine can instantly connect patients to a wide variety of specialists, even if those specialists are located on the other side of the country--or the world!

  • Lower Costs
    Telemedicine reduces patient costs related to time expediture, transportation and lost productivity. Also, because it improves efficiencies and operating overhead for providers, telemedicine often lowers the consumer cost for health care services. 

  • Improved Quality
    Telemedicine empowers consumers to receive care from the best doctors in the world--regardless of where the patient or the provider are located. Telemedicine also helps patients to get health care in the environment most conducive to their health, wellness and comfort--their own home. Multiple studies have demonstrated that tinnitus generates health care outcomes en par with (and, in some cases superior to) traditional health care.

With all these benefits in mind, telemedicine really is a no brainer!

Is telemedicine safe?

Telemedicine has been used for nearly 50 years and has a consistently been shown to be a safe and effective means for delivering health care services. Guided by technical standards and clinical practice guidelines, and backed by decades of research and demonstrations, telemedicine is a safe and cost-effective way to extend the delivery of health care.  ATA has produced a series of standards, guidelines and best practices for health care providers to ensure that they are using telemedicine responsibly.

ATA's Accreditation Program for Online Patient Consultations is the latest mechanism to ensure that patients have access to safe, quality telemedicine services.  Organizations that receive ATA accreditation have established that they follow all appropriate safety protocols and deliver a superior level of care to patients.