Telehealth is an exciting area of research that, to a great extent, is transforming healthcare and contributing to achieving universal health coverage by improving access (for patients) to quality and cost-effective health services wherever they may be. Telehealth is the provision of healthcare remotely by means of telecommunications technologies. It is a broad discipline with multiple stakeholders, including clinicians and researchers with expertise in diverse areas, such as healthcare, public health, data technologies, health informatics, and biomedical engineering.
The terms telemedicine and telehealth are often used interchangeably. Telemedicine refers to the practice of medicine (i.e. diagnosis and treatment of patients) using technology to deliver care to a patient at a distant site. For the purpose of this collection, telehealth is an umbrella term for all components and activities of healthcare and the healthcare system that are conducted through electronic and telecommunications technologies. Examples of telehealth activities and applications that go beyond remote clinical care include healthcare education, health information services, self-care, wearable devices that record and transmit vital signs, and provider-to-provider remote communication.
Technologies currently being deployed for telehealth include mHealth (or mobile health), video and audio technologies, digital photography, remote patient monitoring (RPM), store-and-forward technologies, and streaming media.
The COVID-19 pandemic has undoubtedly made telehealth developments even more important, and the delivery of healthcare via telehealth-based services has increased rapidly as a way of delivering care services while minimizing the risk of COVID-19 transmission.
In support of the rapid progress being made in the telehealth research field, the new launch journal BMC Digital Health, and BMC Health Services Research, will jointly run a collection on the topic of Telehealth. Both journals will consider Research Articles, including systematic reviews and meta-analyses.
BMC Digital Health will consider submissions covering:
- Technological developments for providing telehealth
- Clinical trials of new digital health technologies
BMC Health Services Research will consider submissions covering:
- Telehealth user perspectives
- Real-world application and implementation of telehealth technologies in health services