Telehealth software allows healthcare and wellness professionals to deliver health services, education or training, and health information remotely, using telecommunications technology. Unlike telemedicine solutions, which focus more specifically on clinical services, telehealth solutions cover a broader range health services. Health professionals might use a telehealth solution to remotely monitor a patient’s recovery after hospital discharge. The key focus of telehealth care is everaging telecommunications technologies to make health and information services more convenient and efficient. And of course, increasing the quality of patient care and raising patient engagement. Telehealth tools can be an incredibly powerful way of making widespread healthcare and health education more accessible—especially to remote parts of the U.S. and the world.

You may not be familiar with the term “telemedicine,” but chances are you’ve been using it in some capacity for years. Anytime you contact your doctor or healthcare provider via phone, text, or video, you are using telemedicine. Telemedicine is popular for many reasons. Perhaps you don’t have the time to go visit the doctor in person, or your condition makes it difficult to leave home, or there isn’t a relevant specialist in your area. Whatever your situation, ongoing technological advancements mean your ability to reach healthcare providers remotely is increasing every day. With these telemedicine apps for your iPhone or Android, you can literally have a doctor in the palm of your hand.

Telemedicine is the process of providing health care from a distance through technology, often using videoconferencing. Telepsychiatry and tele-mental health services, a subset of telemedicine, can involve providing a range of services including psychiatric evaluations, therapy (individual therapy, group therapy, family therapy), patient education and medication management. Telepsychiatry can involve direct interaction between a psychiatrist and the patient. It also encompasses psychiatrists supporting primary care providers with mental health care consultation and expertise. Mental health care can be delivered in a live, interactive communication. It can also involve recording medical information (images, videos, etc.) and sending this to a distant site for later review. Telepsychiatry allows psychiatrists to treat more patients in distant locations.

Telecoaching, called telemedicine in the medical world, uses personal communication and technology devices such as a phone, personal computer, or tablet to provide diagnoses and treatment. Telemedicine allows patients to overcome barriers to in-person nutrition services such as busy schedules, child care, distance and transportation. It has been documented as being effective for weight loss, eating disorders, diabetes, heart disease, artificial nutrition support and routine check-ups. Telecoaching can reduce appointment time while still providing quality care. Brief virtual visits may prevent additional unnecessary visits to medical facilities for care and eliminate the need for a costly in-person visit with a medical or nutrition professional. With any new method of practice, it is essential that it be acceptable to providers and patients, and telecoaching has a high satisfaction rate, with the quality of care rated as comparable to in-person visits. Telecoaching for nutrition interventions is a convenient way to talk to an expert, save you time and improve your health outcomes.