Before COVID-19, the internet was already an indispensable part of medical care. We saw an increasing adoption towards digital health services. The pandemic has not just accelerated that adoption, but now made it the first point of contact for many with health services. At the heart of this, are two key concepts: telehealth and mobile health.
While there’s no doubt you would have heard of these terms, it is common to assume they are the same. In reality though, telehealth and mobile health are two very different, but interconnected ideas. That’s why we’ve written this blog, to help you understand the difference.
That way, you’ll know what to use for what purpose, and how to get the most out of it. It will help you stay safe and socially distant, while still allowing all your medical needs to be taken care of.
The Difference Between Telehealth and Mobile Health
The World Health Organization (WHO) defines telehealth as “the delivery of health care services, where patients and providers are separated by distance.” This covers both clinical and non-clinical services, primarily between the doctor and patient. It can also be used to refer to any digital technologies between doctors and providers as well.
Simply put, any medical service conducted/provided through the internet and other digital tools is considered telehealth. Telehealth is a vital part of modern-day healthcare, because it allows for the fast exchange of information through the internet. Patients, doctors, hospitals, and even insurance companies can use telehealth to receive instant access to all data, anywhere in the world.
Some key telehealth tools include Remote Patient Monitoring (RPM), virtual appointments, digital wellness membership plans, digital employee healthcare plans and digital Personal Health Records (PHR). All these tools improve clinical workflows and instant access to full patient history. They also allow patients to instantly receive medical services like medication, test booking and insurance claims.
It’s important to know that telehealth is an ‘umbrella term’, it covers a lot of different medical technologies. From hospital management to insurance, almost all aspects of health today feature some telehealth tools.
Whether you are a doctor, patient or a hospital manager, chances are you have already used telehealth products. If you access your healthcare benefits through an app or the internet, you are a telehealth user.
What is Mobile Health Then?
Mobile Health, or mHealth is a subset of telehealth. Think of telehealth like the subject science, and mHealth the speciality known as biology. Business Insider defines mHealth as “the monitoring and sharing of health information via mobile technology – such as wearables and health tracking apps.” Essentially, mHealth refers to self-care tools that patients can use, which do not need a medical professional.
A Global Marketing Insights report found that there are around 325,000 mHealth apps on Google’s Play Store and Apple’s App Store. There are also thousands of wearables and fitness trackers in the market, that you can buy. Using any of these would mean you are an mHealth user.
MHealth tools are more consumer friendly, easy to use and economical. That is to allow patients to take control of their health, by giving them data that they can act on. Some of these tools aren’t licensed medical devices, but nonetheless provide a rough estimate of parameters like ECG, heart rate and oxygen saturation.
That means the results from these wearables or mHealth devices aren’t accurate enough for doctors to use for diagnosis, but they are a good starting point. Should your device detect an abnormal heart rate or low oxygen level, it’s always a good idea to go to the hospital and get checked.
MHealth tools allow patients to get instant data on their health while giving doctors some basic information. It is an easy gateway for both doctors and patients, giving them context around health parameters. That way, both of them can make more informed decisions, as well as intervene early.
Telehealth and Mobile Health with Onsurity
Individually, both telehealth and mobile health are great tools, but what if they were combined? That’s what we at Onsurity have done. Our employee healthcare plans give you and your team the best telehealth services at your fingertips.
Our all-in-one healthcare membership offers benefits like discounted medicine delivery, discounted health check-ups, doctor teleconsultations and even health insurance benefits through our partner insurer. We also integrate with Apple Health/Google Fit, to track the steps you take.
Employers can give their teams access to these wonderful benefits, and much more. Employees can access all these great services through the Onsurity App on Android and iOS. With Onsurity, there’s no need for multiple accounts, sign in details or even services. Our affordable employee healthcare plans offer access to everything in one single place.
Onsurity was designed to be a comprehensive wellness membership for employees, aimed at keeping individuals and companies as healthy as possible.