Background: Health care is being fundamentally changed by telemedicine. Telemedicine uses communication technologies in prevention, disease management, home health care, long-term (chronic) care, emergency medicine, and many other applications including audiology. Telemedicine is being adopted and integrated into the health care enterprise at an exponential rate and it is often difficult to keep up with all of these changes. Other key drivers such as the Affordable Care Act and other federal health care initiatives are pushing the adoption of telemedicine and catalyzing a flood of interest in telemedicine, telehealth, and m-Health. Purpose: This paper provides an overview of telehealth models and will describe methodologies as they pertain to clinical practice. The goal is to provide the principles behind the practice of telemedicine and how they can be applied to teleaudiology programs. There is a very large body of evidence supporting the benefits and utility of telehealth in terms of technology, economic value, and impact on patients. However, there are still barriers to acceptance, so we must address these challenges and involve all relevant stakeholders if telehealth is to become an integral part of the health care system. Clinical guidelines for telemedicine developed by experts who are practicing it on a daily basis is one way to help overcome these barriers, so attention will be devoted to a discussion of current guidelines. Conclusions: Telemedicine is not a unique clinical specialty, but rather uses telecommunication technologies to reach out to patients to reduce barriers to care in underserved areas, improve patient care and accessibility to specialists, decrease professional isolation in rural areas, help medical practitioners expand their practice reach, and save patients from having to travel or be transported to receive high quality care.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Speech and Hearing