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What is telehealth?

What is telehealth?

Physician examining xrays during telehealth appointment

 

Telehealth defined

Telehealth is the use of electronic information and telecommunications technologies to support clinical health care and both patient and professional health-related education. Telehealth is not a specific service, but a collection of means to enhance care and education delivery. A telehealth patient visit includes real-time audio and video with a “distant” or “hub” site, where a physician or other licensed practitioner is located, and an “originating” or “spoke” site, where a patient is located. Physicians may also collaborate using telehealth technologies. 

Telehealth vs. telemedicine

The terms telemedicine and telehealth are often used interchangeably. The American Telemedicine Association (ATA) treats “telemedicine” and “telehealth” as synonyms, and both refer to the use of remote health care technology to deliver clinical services.

Many use the term “telemedicine” to refer to the delivery and provision of remote clinical services to patients without an in-person visit. Telemedicine is a part of telehealth, which can refer to a broader range of remote health care services that includes telemedicine and some remote non-clinical services such as education and training.

Benefits of telehealth 

Telehealth benefits general patient care by:

  • Providing expanded access to specialty care without the need to travel long distances, which saves time, improves efficiency and requires less time off of work or away from school
  • Improving the ability of physicians to collaborate and make informed patient care decisions and coordinate care
  • Providing higher patient satisfaction with quality of care

Most Shriners Hospitals for Children patients can be considered for telehealth visits. A telehealth visit can be an excellent supplement to the care received at a Shriners Hospitals for Children location. Ask your child's doctor or nurse for more details about scheduling a telehealth appointment. Our affiliate location expansion will provide even more opportunities for remote care in the near future.

View a list of participating Shriners Hospitals for Children and telehealth affiliate locations.

Telehealth patient services

Telehealth  patient services can be used during multiple stages of patient care.

Stages of care where telehealth is offered illlustration

If you and your child's Shriners Hospitals for Children health care provider agree that a telehealth visit will be beneficial, a telehealth appointment will be scheduled following the usual appointment process. You will receive detailed information prior to the appointment date.

The appointment will take place at one of the Shriners Hospitals for Children Telehealth Care Network affiliate locations. This will generally be a doctor's office or clinic within your home area. Your child's Shriners Hospitals for Children medical team or physician will guide the exam from a Shriners Hospitals for Children facility or a different affiliate location. 

Boy is getting his toe examined during telehealth appointmentTelehealth exam 

When you arrive at the clinic for your child's telehealth appointment, please check in at the front desk where you will be registered. When it is time for the appointment, a medical professional will measure your child's height and weight, and escort you to a private exam room.

During the exam, you and your child will be communicating with the Shriners Hospitals medical team in real time, through a large computer screen with an attached camera. When the exam is complete, you will have an opportunity to speak with the medical assistant or nurse at the exam location to ensure that all of your questions have been answered and concerns addressed. You will receive discharge papers that include follow-up information about your next appointment.

Telehealth equipment

Telehealth carts are used for two-way transmission of digitized video images. The cart will have one viewing monitor at the affiliate location where the patient visit takes place, and the cart the Shriners Hospitals for Children medical team uses, will have two. The carts also have an attached, precision high-definition camera and the affiliate-location cart may also have an additional attached high-resolution camera, the Horus Scope, to capture still images and video. There are numerous attachments for the  Horus Scope as well, to aid in visualization for various medical conditions and procedures. 

A digital stethoscope, which connects via Bluetooth, is also be used by doctors. These stethoscopes amplify sound when health care providers need help listening to a heart, lung or other body sounds.

Contact us

For general information about the Shriners Hospitals for Children Telehealth Care Network, please call 813-281-0300 or email