HumanInsight Going digital - a commentary on the terminology used at the intersection of physical activity and digital health
Eur Rev Aging Phys Act. 2022 Jul 16;19(1):17. doi: 10.1186/s11556-022-00296-y.
In recent years digital technologies have become a major means for providing health-related services and this trend was strongly reinforced by the current Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic. As it is well-known that regular physical activity has positive effects on individual physical and mental health and thus is an important prerequisite for healthy aging, digital technologies are also increasingly used to promote unstructured and structured forms of physical activity. However, in the course of this development, several terms (e.g., Digital Health, Electronic Health, Mobile Health, Telehealth, Telemedicine, and Telerehabilitation) have been introduced to refer to the application of digital technologies to provide health-related services such as physical interventions. Unfortunately, the above-mentioned terms are often used in several different ways, but also relatively interchangeably. Given that ambiguous terminology is a major source of difficulty in scientific communication which can impede the progress of theoretical and empirical research, this article aims to make the reader aware of the subtle differences between the relevant terms which are applied at the intersection of physical activity and Digital Health and to provide state-of-art definitions for them.
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