What is the difference between mHealth, eHealth, telehealth, and telemedicine?
The digital health world has seen massive growth over the last year. eHealth, mHealth, telehealth, and telemedicine are used to describe the use of mobile and desktop technology for patient management. These terms are used interchangeably at times, however, they each represent a different aspect of technology and healthcare.
Learn about the difference between eHealth, mHealth telehealth and telemedicine below, and why it’s important to know the difference.
Both mHealth and eHealth play a role in supporting healthcare with electronics. They perform similar functions, however the means by which the information is provided is the primary difference.
mHealth is an abbreviation for mobile health, and utilizes mobile devices, such as a cellphone or a tablet, to support healthcare practices. With mHealth services, patients are able to log, store, and monitor their health records on their personal mobile devices. These applications are helpful in improving the efficiency of the delivery of healthcare information. mHealth applications can be helpful in research, and practitioner and patient use.
Health tracking apps on mobile devices are becoming increasingly popular. There are over 318,000 health apps on the market. Popular health app example of mHealth include:
Apple Heart Study
mHealth has the ability for healthcare professionals to track the recovery of patients
As hospitals and healthcare become more technologically reliant, more and more hospitals and health facilities have apps where you can access your records, make appointments, and ask questions from your mobile device.
On the other hand, eHealth consists of a much broader understanding of healthcare practices supported by electronic processes. The technology used to improve healthcare practices with eHealth include electronic health records, patient administration systems, lab systems, and other records that cannot be stored within mobile health applications.
Efficiency- avoid unnecessary duplication and streamline the health care service between patient and provider.
Enhancing quality- providers have access to each other’s notes to avoid duplicating any previous exams or studies.
Evidence based- there should still be scientific evidence on the basis of all information provided in eHealth.
Empowerment- it should empower patients to be a part of the medical process.
Encouragement- improving the relationship between healthcare provider and patient to work together in a partnership.
Education- healthcare providers and patients have increased educational resources to learn and implement.
Enabling- allowing easy communication between healthcare providers and patients across the board.
Extending- allowing healthcare services and assistance across the globe instead of relying on your set geographical location.
Ethics- maintain the same values of professional practice, informed consent, privacy and equity.
Equity- make healthcare more equitable for users.
Furthermore, it should be easy-to-use, entertaining, and exciting.
The difference between telehealth and telemedicine.
These terms are confused with one another and used interchangeably. However, like eHealth and mHealth one term serves a broader purpose. The broader term in this comparison is telehealth. Telehealth refers to both clinical and remote non-clinical services, including providing training and continued medical education for practitioners.
Telemedicine is solely referring to remote clinical service. The concept of telemedicine was started to treat patients who are located in remote areas. Throughout the last year with more and more services relying more on virtual resources, it has served a greater purpose – providing people access to care without putting themselves at risk of contracting COVID-19. As more people gain access to these services, expectations around waiting room times, access to care, and convenience of care are changing.
Understanding the ways the terms work together to create the big picture of virtual healthcare is crucial to understanding your access to care. The aim of all of these services is to provide greater quality, efficiency, and cost of care to both practitioners and patients. Each plays their unique role in crafting a well-rounded digital healthcare plan for patients.
At SBMA, we believe in providing our clients with the most affordable, efficient benefits that are tailored to the needs of their employees. Telemedicine services integrate seamlessly into your benefits package to ensure your employees remain healthy and happy.