From remote patient monitoring to virtual house calls, telehealth is bringing high-quality medical care across great distances in an instant. This report looks at the challenges and forces that are influencing the widening use of telehealth.
Health plans, providers, and IT vendors are all using telehealth applications to increase quality of care, reduce costs, and increase access for the underserved. Sometimes referred to as e-health or telemedicine, telehealth encompasses a variety of formats, including:
- Live videoconferencing
- Store-and-forward systems for transmitting digital images and other data
- Remote patient monitoring through the use of home-based devices
- E-visits or "virtual house calls"
Several technologies and services are used to enable or complement telehealth applications: satellite networks, phone services (such as 24/7 call centers), high-speed Internet (such as physician-patient portals), streaming media (such as health education videos), and wireless communications (such as mobile devices and radio frequency identification [RFID]).
This iHealth Report — a commissioned study conducted in 2008 by Forrester Consulting on behalf of the California HealthCare Foundation — examines emerging uses of telehealth and describes the market drivers and challenges that will impact its future growth.
The complete study is available under Document Downloads.
This report complements another CHCF iHealth Report, Right Here Right Now: Ten Telehealth Pioneers Make It Work, available under Related CHCF Pages.