Home : Technical Terms : Telehealth Definition


Telehealth is an umbrella term that encompasses health services provided using telecommunications technologies. It includes everything from the electronic delivery of patient health information and prescriptions to remote interactions between patients and doctors in different locations.

Telehealth has existed for decades, dating back to the invention of the telephone in the late 1800s. It first enabled doctors and nurses to communicate over long distances and provide medical information to their patients over the phone. The telephone provided a significant boost in medical care because patients were no longer limited by the expertise of doctors in their local area.

As technology has progressed, so has telehealth. For example, the fax machine made it possible to transfer medical information between hospitals in minutes instead of days. Pagers helped notify doctors and surgeons in emergency situations. Modern technologies like smartphones and the Internet make it possible for medical professionals and patients to access health information anytime, anywhere. Online services like MyChart and AthenaNet provide patients with direct access to their own health records, including test results, scans, and medications.

Remote Healthcare

While telehealth encompasses many types of medical services, it is often used to describe remote healthcare. For example, a telehealth doctor may "visit" patients remotely using videoconferencing technology. Patients can book remote appointments and a doctor can evaluate their condition over the video feed. A more advanced type of telehealth, called telesurgery, allows doctors to perform remote surgery using a specialized robotic system.

Updated: May 12, 2016

Cite this definition:


TechTerms - The Tech Terms Computer Dictionary

This page contains a technical definition of Telehealth. It explains in computing terminology what Telehealth means and is one of many technical terms in the TechTerms dictionary.

All definitions on the TechTerms website are written to be technically accurate but also easy to understand. If you find this Telehealth definition to be helpful, you can reference it using the citation links above. If you think a term should be updated or added to the TechTerms dictionary, please email TechTerms!

Sign up for the free TechTerms Newsletter

How often would you like to receive an email?

You can unsubscribe at any time.
Questions? Please contact us.