and participants, and are not necessarily endorsed or verified by the IOM, and they should not be construed as reflecting any group consensus.


In 1996, the IOM defined telemedicine as “the use of electronic information and communications technologies to provide and support health care when distance separates participants” (IOM, 1996, p. 1). (See Appendix A for more definitions related to telehealth and telemedicine.) In his keynote address at this workshop (see Chapter 3), Dr. Thomas S. Nesbitt of the University of California, Davis, Health System noted that while the terms telehealth and telemedicine both describe the use of technology to exchange information to improve a patient’s health status, they are often interchanged. He stated that telemedicine has typically been used more to describe direct clinical services, whereas telehealth has been used to define a broader scope of health-related services (e.g., patient education, remote monitoring). Similarly, the American Telemedicine Association (ATA) states,

Telemedicine and telehealth both describe the use of medical information exchanged from one site to another via electronic communications to improve the patients’ health status. Although evolving, telemedicine is sometimes associated with direct patient clinical services and telehealth is sometimes associated with a broader definition of remote health care services. (ATA, 2012a)

Many of the presenters at the workshop itself interchanged the use of the terms, and this summary does not attempt to regularize the usage of either term. Appendix A defines some telehealth-relevant terminology, as defined by the ATA.


In this summary, the presentations at the workshop have been organized into 13 chapters. Following this introduction, Chapter 2 presents the opening remarks of the planning committee chair and the workshop sponsor. Chapter 3 provides an overview of the past, present, and future of telehealth. Chapter 4 considers some of the overarching challenges in telehealth, especially for rural communities. Chapter 5 delves into the issues surrounding the challenges of payment for telehealth. Chapter 6 examines the use of telehealth by a variety of providers in different settings across the health care continuum. Chapter 7 reviews the observations and discussions of the planning committee members as well as other workshop participants at the end of the first day of the workshop.

Chapter 8 discusses the evidence base of telehealth, including challenges

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