Top 10 Tips: Telemedicine Terms

Top 10 Tips: Telemedicine Terms

Telemedicine, as per discussions on the same over at, is a rarity in the healthcare industry as it is one of the few innovations in that sector that enhances the availability and effectiveness of healthcare while reducing costs. It is no wonder that it has become so popular among patients and practitioners alike. Unfortunately, as revealed in discussions on the same over at, telemedicine has brought with it a lot of confusing terms, which, to help, this article will look to highlight 10 of the top ones and look to have them explained.


To start with, we are going to highlight what telemedicine is, since, as per discussions over at, many people confuse it with another term, telehealth. Telemedicine involves the evaluating, diagnosis, and treatment of a patient by a healthcare practitioner through a telecommunications connection, either audio or video as discussed over at, as opposed to treatment taking place during a physical visit to the provider’s office, otherwise known as an in-person visit.


As mentioned above, and covered in detail over at, many people confuse telemedicine with telehealth, with some using these terms interchangeably, which is wrong as they are not the same thing. Telehealth, as explained over at, a broad term referring to remote clinical and non-clinical services from provider training to continuing medical training and even to administrative meetings. Telemedicine is therefore a subset of telehealth.


Another term you are likely to encounter as far as telemedicine is concerned is telemonitoring. As per the gurus over at, telemonitoring is a term that refers to the use of audio, video, and other telecommunications and electronic information sharing technologies to monitor the health status of a patient remotely, or from a distance as it were. Through telemonitoring, a practitioner can be able to monitor a patient’s blood sugar levels, heart rate, and other key metrics.

Asynchronous communication

Also known as store-and-forward communication, as per discussions on the same over at, asynchronous communications are a two-way communication where the information is captured at one time, and evaluated and transmitted at a different time. An example is digitized records such as X-rays which can be captured at one location, stored then forwarded at a later date to a second location, say to a specialist, for diagnosis.

Real-time communication

As its name suggests, this term refers to the capture, processing, and presentation in real-time, that is, at the time the data is originated. This means that the participants, in this case, the patient and the practitioner or practitioners, interact as if they were in the same room, only virtually as covered over at An example of real-time communication in telemedicine is a phone call or live video conference visit.


SaaS, or Software as a Service in full, is another popular term as far as telemedicine is concerned, and it refers to a method of delivering software to customers where the software resides on hardware controlled by the vendor. As a user, you will access this service through a web browser or mobile application and therefore the onus for maintenance is on the vendor rather than the customer this reducing costs and time to get started as discussed over at


API, or Application Programming Interface, is a bit of software setting the rules for two applications to send data back and forth. An example of an API in action is when checking the status of your package sent via FedEx on the tracking orders screen on Amazon. In telemedicine, as covered over at, APIs are used to connect the telemedicine technology to a practice’s HER, practice management system, or online scheduling application to eliminate the need for duplication of data entry.


Encryption is yet another term you must have heard about a lot as far as telemedicine is concerned, and as explained over at, it is a term referring to a system of encoding data on a web page or email, ensuring the information can only be retrieved and decoded by the person or computer system with the authorization to access it. Secure telemedicine platforms use encryption to prevent unauthorized access to patient data and transmissions.

Peer-to-peer networking

As is the case for encryption, peer-to-peer networking is used in telemedicine to protect the privacy of patients as per the gurus over at It is a term referring to a type of internet connection that hides the identities and locations of all participants involved, reducing the chances of accidental or intentional data breaches. Once more, the most secure telemedicine platforms use peer-to-peer networking.


HIPAA, or Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, is a U.S. legislation, enacted back in 1996 as revealed in discussions over at, which provides data privacy and security provisions to safeguard medical information. It is therefore very important in telemedicine as its Private Rule and Security Rule govern provides a framework and governs how providers and their associates must protect the confidential health information of their patients.

The above are some of the terms commonly used in telemedicine, with more on this very wide topic, including more terms and their definitions, to be found over at the brilliant