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Telehealth and maternity

02 June 2021
9 min read
Volume 29 · Issue 6

Abstract

Has the onset of the pandemic changed the way we utilise telemedicine forever? Anjali Raj Westwood shares her views

The World Health Organization ([WHO], 2010) defines telehealth as ‘the delivery of healthcare services, where distance is a critical factor, by all healthcare professionals using information and communication technologies for the exchange of valid information for diagnosis, treatment and prevention of disease and injuries, research and evaluation, and for the continuing education of healthcare providers, all in the interests of advancing the health of individuals and their communities’.

A more recent definition by the European Code of Practice for Telehealth Services defines telehealth as ‘the means by which technologies and related services concerned with health and wellbeing are accessed by people or provided for them irrespective of location’ (Gu and Dupre, 2019). The term telehealth is often used interchangeably with telemedicine, telecare, technology enabled health, digital health and m-health. For the purpose of consistency within this article, we will be using the term ‘telehealth’.

Telehealth as a mode of service delivery has been particularly valuable for those in remote areas, vulnerable groups and ageing populations. The year 2020 changed how the world views telehealth. One look at the world healthcare news and it can be observed that the COVID-19 pandemic has brought telemedicine to the front stage, and the world has now seen and benefitted from its practice.

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