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5 Reasons You Need To Know the New Telehealth Terminology

5 Reasons You Need To Know the New Telehealth Terminology

Have you ever wondered what is tele-health? And what’s the difference between telehealth and telemedicine? Actually, what’s the difference between telehealth, telepractice, teletherapy, Teletubbies, television…. as you can see, there are so many different tele-health terms…. Telemedicine terms… that it’s no wonder why people are confused.

[00:00:20] Well, in this video, I’m going to clarify the tele terms for you. And I’m going to share with you the five most important reasons why you need to make sure you are using the right tele terminology for your practice.

My name is Jessica McMurdie from, and I am on a mission to empower and equip therapy entrepreneurs with business strategies to help you achieve a rewarding and profitable private practice so that you can really maximize your practice’s potential for helping and healing others.

Telemedicine vs. Telehealth: What’s the difference? [00:00:53] The two terms in question are telemedicine and telehealth. So what is the difference? Well from my research, this is how telemedicine is defined: Telemedicine is the practice of medicine using technology to deliver healthcare services at a distance. And it’s typically provided by physicians or doctors.

Telehealth for Physical and Occupational Therapy

[00:01:14] Tele-health is broader in scope and it’s most commonly associated with services provided by other healthcare providers that are not physicians or doctors. So that would include nurse practitioners, psychologists, pharmacists. It’s also where the different therapy professions would also fall under the tele-health umbrella.

[00:01:34] Tele-health can also be used not only for clinical direct services, but also nonclinical services such as coaching or setting up a patient’s home program, for example.

On a global level, I really like how the world health organization has defined telemedicine. They define it as healing at a distance. And I just love this concept of being able to heal at a distance without physical boundaries, stopping practitioners from being able to help others. This is amazing. And with today’s technology, it opens up all kinds of opportunities for therapy professionals.

[00:02:04] Now let’s talk about the terms that are more specific to the different therapy disciplines. So the first one is telehealth. Now telehealth is a term that is most widely used by physical and occupational therapists.

[00:02:26] And tele-health has been adopted by the national associations for physical and occupational therapy. <insert image>

Telepractice for Speech Language Pathologists Now telepractice is most widely associated with speech and language pathologists. And if you look at the Asha website, the American speech hearing and language association, they have adopted the term telepractice to identify their online services. <insert image>

Teletherapy for Mental Health Providers and Psychologists
  • [00:02:50] In the area of mental health, when it comes to psychologists, mental health practitioners and counselors, this has been most widely identified by the term teletherapy. These are the main differences when it comes to the therapy professions and here’s a quick recap. Tele-health is most commonly associated with OT and PT. Telepractice is widely recognized as speech therapy. Teletherapy is most commonly affiliated with mental health practitioners. [00:03:18] I hope that those definitions help you to better understand and have more clarity of which tele term is most appropriate for your type of practice.
5 Reasons Why It’s Critical You use the Proper Telemedicine Term In Your Practice

There are five reasons why it’s critical that you identify with the proper telemedicine term.

#1: The first reason is you want to identify with the appropriate therapy profession.

[00:03:43] You want to stick with your tribe. So if your professional association has adopted the term tele-health for OT/PT or telepractice for speech or teletherapy for mental health, you want to make sure that you are associated with your group and the greater tribe of your profession.

#2: The second reason is because it helps your patients and clients identify the type of therapy services that you are providing.

#3: The third reason is because it’s really important for optimizing your marketing. Using the right terminology for your business is important when it comes to your practice’s branding when it comes to marketing, and the ability to be able to be found online. Try to think of using the correct tele-health term as a keyword search. It’ll really help boost your SEO in terms of marketing if you are using the right tele term that defines the types of services your practice provides.

#4: The fourth reason is documentation. [00:04:31] You want to make sure that you are using the right type of terminology in your documentation, especially when it comes to your treatment notes or your evaluations. It’s really important that you are in alignment with your profession and its scope of practice.

#5: The fifth reason is forBilling. [00:04:51] It’s a very important reason because we all want to be able to be reimbursed and paid for our services at the end of the day. And this comes down to billing. So depending on which tele term you’re using, different terms are tied to different codes and different payers. Keep in mind that different States have different regulations.

[00:05:11] The main takeaway is that you want to make sure that the tele term you’re using for the therapy services that you’re providing are in alignment with all the billing codes that you can use in order to get reimbursed or to get paid for your services.

If you found this episode helpful and clarifying all the different tele terms out there, I have some other videos that I think you’ll also benefit from too!  Check out my other blog posts on telehealth!


Here’s what you’ll learn in The 3 Essentials For Telehealth Success:
You’ll walk away from this training with 3 specific steps to immediately feel more prepared and confident before your next telehealth session… pretty cool right?…so if you want a few secrets to feel more confident and competent when it comes to your online practice…

FREE Training | AOTA Approved! (1 CEU)

Here’s what other’s have to say about the training…

“Jessica made the introduction to telehealth less intimidating to me. I can now breathe and move forward.” ~ Stephanie OTR/L

“Jessica’s course made me feel more positive and comfortable about telehealth practice. It was practical and actionable; I can use Jessica’s suggestions right away.”  ~ Kelli OTR/L

“I just finished watching your course and loved every minute of it! The lessons are very informative and engaging.” ~ Sabrina COTA/L

“The telehealth resources were a hit, so I plan to keep on using them even though I’m back to working with kids in person.” ~ Suzanne OTR/L