Telemedicine, also referred to as telehealth or e-medicine, is the remote delivery of healthcare services, including exams and consultations, over the telecommunications infrastructure. Telemedicine allows healthcare providers to evaluate, diagnose and treat patients without the need for an in-person visit. Patients can communicate with physicians from their homes by using their own personal technology or by visiting a dedicated telehealth kiosk.
For patients at home, a typical telemedicine exam involves downloading an app such as LiveHealth or calling a telemedicine number, which generally is provided by a primary care physician's office or patient's employer as part of health benefits. After sharing information about medical history and symptoms, the remote patient will be connected to a clinician. Based on the clinician's evaluation, the call will end with the patient receiving further instructions -- such as to take over-the-counter medication, fill a prescription, go to a hospital or schedule a follow-up appointment.