What Is the Difference Between Telehealth and Virtual Visits?

As technology continues to revolutionize the healthcare industry, new terms and concepts are emerging to describe various remote healthcare services. Two such terms that are often used interchangeably are telehealth and virtual visits. While both involve remote medical consultations, understanding the differences between these terms is important for patients, healthcare providers, and policymakers alike. In this blog post, we will explore and clarify the distinction between telehealth and virtual visits.
David Medeiros
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7 minute read

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Telehealth is a broad term that encompasses a range of remote healthcare services. It refers to the use of technology to deliver healthcare services, including medical consultations, diagnoses, monitoring, education, and more. Telehealth leverages various communication tools, such as video conferencing, telephone calls, secure messaging, and even remote monitoring devices, to bridge the gap between patients and healthcare providers.

Telehealth services extend beyond simple video consultations and allow for comprehensive healthcare delivery, including remote patient monitoring, electronic health record management, and even virtual collaborations among healthcare professionals. Telehealth enables healthcare providers to deliver care remotely, overcoming barriers of distance, time, and accessibility.


Virtual Visits

Virtual visits, on the other hand, specifically refer to remote medical consultations conducted via video conferencing or audio calls. Virtual visits are a subset of telehealth, focusing primarily on real-time video interactions between patients and healthcare providers. During a virtual visit, patients can discuss their symptoms, receive medical advice, obtain prescriptions, and follow-up on their treatment plans with healthcare professionals, all from the comfort of their own homes.

While virtual visits typically involve live interactions, some healthcare providers may also offer asynchronous virtual visits, where patients provide their medical information and concerns through secure messaging platforms or pre-recorded video messages. The healthcare provider then reviews the information and responds with medical recommendations or guidance.


Key Differences

The primary difference between telehealth and virtual visits lies in their scope. Telehealth encompasses a broader range of remote healthcare services, including not only video consultations but also remote monitoring, education, and collaborative care. On the other hand, virtual visits specifically focus on real-time video or audio consultations between patients and healthcare providers.

Telehealth often involves more extensive integration of technology, such as electronic health records and remote monitoring devices, to facilitate comprehensive care delivery. In contrast, virtual visits are more streamlined, with a primary focus on providing immediate medical consultations remotely.

It's important to note that the terms telehealth and virtual visits are often used interchangeably in common parlance, and the precise definitions may vary depending on regional regulations and healthcare provider practices. However, understanding the underlying differences between these terms can help patients and healthcare professionals navigate the rapidly evolving landscape of remote healthcare services more effectively.


Revolutionizing Healthcare

Telehealth and virtual visits are terms that are often used interchangeably but have distinct differences in their scope and focus. While telehealth encompasses a broad range of remote healthcare services, virtual visits specifically refer to real-time video or audio consultations between patients and healthcare providers. Both telehealth and virtual visits have revolutionized the accessibility and convenience of healthcare, enabling patients to receive medical care remotely. By understanding these terms, patients can better navigate the world of remote healthcare and make informed decisions about their medical consultations.

To learn more about Accuhealth and RPM, access the resources below.

  1. How to Set Up Your Remote Patient Monitoring System
  2. The Complete Guide to Remote Patient Monitoring

If you are curious about CMS changes that may affect your practice, check this out.

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Meet the Author

Accuhealth is proud to feature content from industry-leading experts that contribute in-depth knowledge of Remote Patient Monitoring and Telehealth subject matter to our blog.

David Medeiros

David Medeiros

David Medeiros is a Remote Patient Monitoring expert with 10 years of clinical, telehealth and home care experience, specifically in Remote Patient Monitoring. With his team, David has been able to develop RPM/Telehealth from the early pilot years, to the industry leading juggernaut that Accuhealth is today.

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