Telehealth Application Domains
The Center for Connected Health Policy, the federally-designated National Telehealth Policy Resource Center, describes four key telehealth application domains: live video, store-and-forward, remote patient monitoring, and mobile health.
Live Video (Synchronous)
Live video is the most commonly used form of delivering telehealth. Live video includes two types of technology:
- Video device, typically a camera
- Display device, such as a television, a tablet, a projector, or a computer screen
A live connection allows the provider to examine and observe the patient in real time, deliver psychiatric evaluations, and consult with other providers, among many other benefits.
In store-and-forward systems, rural providers transmit secure health information to external specialists in order to seek consultations outside of a real-time patient interaction. For example, a rural provider could send a patient's X-ray images to a specialist through secure channels and receive a diagnosis through email. Some store-and-forward systems are conducted entirely through electronic health records.
Remote Patient Monitoring (RPM)
Providers use RPM technologies to track and monitor patient data from a distance. For example, a program for patients with hypertension might use an electronic blood pressure monitor to send daily readings to a database. The provider can review the database to monitor progress and suggest treatments to maintain the patient's health. By continually tracking patient data and offering preventive treatments, providers may be able to reduce hospital readmissions and utilization of emergency services. Module 2: Increasing Access to and Engagement with Care Outside of Healthcare Settings provides additional information about RPM in home settings.
Mobile Health (mHealth)
mHealth typically refers to health education or tracking provided via mobile devices, including cell phones and tablets. RPM interventions can involve mHealth as a means of communicating with patients. For example, patients can use mobile apps to collect health data, such as vital signs.
Resources to Learn More
Federally Qualified Health Center Remote Patient
A toolkit for implementing a remote patient monitoring program. Covers roles and responsibilities of healthcare professionals and offers program considerations regarding administration, program sustainability, electronic health records (EHR) integration, communications, equipment, training, and examples of measurable outcomes for patients and providers.
Organization(s): National Consortium of Telehealth Resource Centers
Provides an overview of live video telehealth and its applications, such as education, medical consultations, and emergency room or intensive care unit support services.
Organization(s): Center for Connected Health Policy: The National Telehealth Policy Resource Center
Defines mobile health (mHealth) and describes different mHealth applications.
Organization(s): South Central Telehealth Resource Center
Telemedicine Services Expand Connected Health
Describes the benefits of asynchronous telehealth services. Discusses challenges to expanding telehealth services and primary care telemedicine models.
Author(s): Wicklund, E.
Basics: mHealth and the FDA
Describes how the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulates mobile mHealth applications. Covers device classes and types of mobile applications under the FDA's oversight.
Organization(s): Telehealth Resource Centers