Recent years have seen great technological advances, particularly in computer and electronic telecommunication technologies, and the worlds of medicine, health and care have all seen many new tools and devices become available that have the potential to radically improve peoples lives. Telemedicine, telehealth and telecare are all terms used to describe these developments. All three involve the use of new technologies, particularly electronic technologies, and the terms are often used interchangeably. In fact all three refer to distinct applications of technology, albeit with some overlap. What exactly are these various approaches and how can they be employed to improve health and social care outcomes, asks Martin Hodgson.