There is some confusion regarding what term to use to describe teletherapy services and that makes sense given that there are several terms used interchangeably. Below, I have defined common terms in order to help explain when to use them and why I do not use them interchangeably.
What do these terms mean?
- Telehealth (noun): refers to the umbrella of services provided via telecommunications technology. It is the term I use when broadly referring to the use of the internet to provide a health service. Telehealth is being successfully used across several healthcare professions.
- Telepractice (noun): refers to a virtual office or business that provides telehealth services. Individuals who perform telehealth services through their business own a telepractice. Individuals who are employed by a company that provides telehealth services can be described as being employed by a telepractice.
- Teletherapy (verb): refers to the act of providing therapy services using telecommunications technology. The type of therapy provided can be speech therapy, occupational therapy, counseling services, etc. I use this term to describe what services I provide. For example, I provide speech and language teletherapy services.
- Teletherapist (noun): refers to a person who provides virtual therapy services. It is the term I use to describe what my profession is. For example, I am a speech and language teletherapist.
The most common term used among fellow Speech-Language Pathologists is “teletherapy” and this is the term that I use most frequently to talk about what I do when speaking to members of my community. However, the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) has adopted the term “telepractice” to describe the use of teleconferencing technology for the delivery of speech-language therapy services. ASHA also accepts the term teletherapy.