Perhaps some will think this is a small thing, but it’s not. “Telemedicine” is treatment specific (meaning remote clinical diagnosis and treatment oversight provided by a physician or physician extender). And as such, it’s billable.
“Telemedicine. For purposes of Medicaid, telemedicine seeks to improve a patient’s health by permitting two-way, real time interactive communication between the patient, and the physician or practitioner at the distant site.” – CMS
“Telehealth” covers a broader range of ancillary services relating to the health, treatment, and care of a patient (a supportive treatment role)
We need to truly understand the nuances of these terms and use them correctly.
Words and meanings evolve over time, but truly, it is important at this juncture that we keep the distinctions between telemedicine and telehealth clear. Especially if we work in the field…because we are the ones educating the public and our public officials. It is important that the value of “telemedicine” is recognized, and that telemedicine reimbursement is addressed. If we can resolve telemedicine reimbursement, the rest will follow.