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The terms telehealth and telemedicine frequently are used interchangeably; however, telemedicine generally refers to the use of telecommunications to provide clinical care at a distance, whereas telehealth is much broader in scope and more inclusive. According to the U.S. Office for the Advancement of Telehealth (http://telehealth.hrsa.gov), telehealth is the use of electronic information and telecommunications technologies to support long-distance clinical health care, patient and professional health-related education, and public health and health administration.

Telehealth dates to the late 1800s when rural physicians used the newly invented telephone to provide support to their patients. The first real surge of interest in telehealth, however, came in the late 1970s with the introduction of personal computers. This interest continued through the 1980s as technological improvements gave rise to telehealth ...

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