Telecare/telehealth terminology in the wild

As part of the terminology campaign, I am posting links to real-world stories that illustrate ways in which terms related to this field are being used. My intention in highlighting these items is not to imply that the people who use the terminology in that way are somehow wrong: they are entitled to use it in any way they see fit. My intention is to say to the worldwide telecare/telehealth community “Look – people are using the words in these ways. Is it helpful, or not? Is there a need to have some internationally agreed definitions to refer to?”

Often, it seems to me, the problem arises not with the use of ‘tele’, which means ‘at a distance’ or ‘remote’, which is a common denominator in all these things, or even with the prefix ‘e’ to denote ‘electronic’ or ‘internet’, but with the other part of the usage – what is ‘health’, ‘care’ or ‘medicine’ in these contexts?

Here are five items to start off with. When you have finished browsing them, follow the link in the navigation bar to the main Terminology page.


No Clear Consensus on Telemedicine Market Size

“…telehealth (also called eHealth) marketplace — which includes telemedicine…”
AMD Telemedicine press release

Assembly of First Nations and Canada Health Infoway Funding Decision Transforms First Nations Access to Health Care

“Currently about 100 First Nations across Canada use telehealth technologies for clinical consultation, continuing professional education, health promotion, health care management and administration.”

German industry group publishes telemedicine standards

“Leading German electronic association the VDE has published a new set of standards for telemedicine to spur the development of telecare and telemonitoring.”

Birmingham PCT to extend telecare to 27,000

“Birmingham East and North PCT together with NHS Direct and Pfizer Health Solutions launched Birmingham OwnHealth, a nurse-led telephone care management programme, in April 2006.”

One call a day…

“…telephone checking and visiting services in Orange were desperate for volunteers…relies on a Telecare call every day to check on her welfare.”

Terminolology highlighting campaign

As promised in the ‘themes for 2008’, I’m turning the spotlight this year on the issues surrounding the use of telecare, telehealth, telemedicine, etc. and the taxonomy of services and devices in this field. Make use of the new starting page (added to the navigation bar above) and of the new ‘Terminology’ category which will make it easier to search for all related posts.

Take a few minutes to read the introductory page, and then follow the link to an article that gets us off to a great start.