While telehealth advocates continue to promote its effectiveness in almost all facets of the healthcare system, a new term has been developed that may potentially cause confusion- its called “connected care.” While seemingly synonymous with telehealth, the creators of connected care aim to make it an overarching umbrella term. According to the Alliance for Connected Care:
“Connected care is the real-time, electronic communication between a patient and a provider, including telehealth, remote patient monitoring, and secure email communication between clinicians and their patients.”
The creation of this term stems from a new lobbying organization that is putting its political power behind the idea. Three former US Senators founded the Alliance: Tom Daschle (D) of South Dakota, John Breaux (D) or Louisiana, and Trent Lott (R) of Michigan.
Although technology in the healthcare field has grown immensely and continues to interest patients and medical providers, persisting legal barriers have limited the use of connected care. As a result, the senators urge policymakers to address these issues in order to make the existing technology more accessible. They have three goals for connected care:
1) Making reimbursement available from insurance companies
2) Building a reliable technical infrastructure that can handle rapid growth
3) Supporting processes for seamless coordination of care
From this explanation, it is easy to spot the connections between telehealth and connected care. As the field continues to grow, more divisions will likely be created, each with the overall goal of creating a more affordable and reliable healthcare system.