The Evolution of Telehealth

  • Melinda Martin-Khan
  • Shannon Freeman
  • Kevin Adam
  • Georgia Betkus
Part of the Human–Computer Interaction Series book series (HCIS)


The evolution of telehealth is defined as the change of telehealth over time, and how it is developing into a system of health care delivery and exchange of information for participants over distance. The term ‘separated’ is becoming less of a key element in the current definition of telehealth as we seek to transition telehealth into an integrated mainstream health care system that is useful for people everywhere and not just for people in rural and remote locations. An integrated telehealth service enables economies of scale that ensure an affordable and efficient system which is available in a timely way, for anyone with access challenges. This ensures that the needs of people in rural and remote areas are more likely to be met but it also creates a more affordable and efficient system. We are now beginning to see that telehealth is not just a second best option if you cannot be there in person, but in some instances, telehealth is the best choice, no matter where you live.

The evolution of telehealth encompasses the time when health care was delivered exclusively in-person, through to the introduction of technology supported health consultations for people who had access challenges, to opportunities that are now available for delivering health care and exchanging health information remotely as part of a multi-faceted health care system which is delivered either in-person or online for people everywhere. Different models of telehealth have evolved to incorporate technologies into the health care system to keep pace with this change in implementation.


Community Rural Engagement Development Users Distance Healthcare Homecare Medicine 


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Melinda Martin-Khan
    • 1
  • Shannon Freeman
    • 2
  • Kevin Adam
    • 3
  • Georgia Betkus
    • 4
  1. 1.Centre of Research Excellence in Telehealth, Centre for Online Health, Centre for Research in Geriatric Medicine, School of MedicineThe University of QueenslandBrisbaneAustralia
  2. 2.School of NursingUniversity of Northern British ColumbiaPrince GeorgeCanada
  3. 3.School of Health SciencesUniversity of Northern British ColumbiaPrince GeorgeCanada
  4. 4.School of Interdisciplinary StudiesUniversity of Northern British ColumbiaPrince GeorgeCanada

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