Telemedicine is a way to provide patients with medical care remotely. Telemedicine involves a doctor and a patient—not in proximity to one another—interacting using remote virtual communication.
Most people had not used telemedicine services before COVID-19. In a recent survey of HealthInsurance, only 21% of respondents had used telemedicine before the pandemic. Now, 43% of respondents reported using telemedicine today. In 2019, 11% of U.S. adults said they had tried telemedicine compared to 46% in 2020.
With telemedicine, medical services, monitoring, and treatment can be provided to users remotely, without face-to-face meetings and contacts. This option is vital when a patient is unable to visit a doctor physically and needs help immediately.
Of course, we are talking about counseling and primary care services. Urgent interventions in a patient's life still require the physical presence of medical personnel.
There are three types of telemedicine and telehealth options in the world today:
- Interactive medicine – this variety allows doctors, patients, and other medical staff to communicate directly in a virtual space while complying with all HIPAA regulations.
- Store and Forward – allows health care providers to transfer patient medical records quickly.
- Remote patient monitoring – this option enables doctors to monitor the progress of their patients. Thus, it is possible to observe and control the patient's key indicators, like heart rate, blood pressure, and blood sugar levels, from a distance. Based on the tests, a doctor will adjust the treatment, directing it in a more correct and relevant direction.
What is telemedicine used for? Telemedicine is making treatment and medical services more accessible to patients all over the world. Telemedicine reduces the need for physical proximity. For those who have difficulty accessing quality medicine due to age or location, telemedicine is becoming a great way to monitor their health and see a doctor with less time and expense.
With telemedicine, doctors and patients can exchange medical data in real-time. Thanks to software, patients can contact doctors between physical appointments to clarify or adjust the treatment process.
Telemedicine Doctor: What Services Does He Provide?
The main goal and mission of telemedicine is to provide remote medical care using special software. Let's look at more specific cases in which telemedicine can be useful.
- Virtual emergency help for minors. There may be times when a child gets sick or exhibits concerning symptoms, but their parent is unavailable to help. Virtual emergency help can provide the child a quick and easy virtual medical consultation.
- Post-operative follow-up. The doctor can stay in touch with the patient via voice or text virtual communication and check whether the patient remembered to follow all recommendations. Doctors can also automate sending reminders to patients for routine tasks.
- Quickly extend or modify medication prescriptions. Doctors can remotely contact and coordinate with patients in need of prescription renewals, saving everyone time. During the consultation, the telemedicine doctor will check if any new symptoms have arisen or if old symptoms have gone away, which is essential for adjusting medication dosages or prescribing alternate medications.
“Telemedicine will become a fundamental aspect of care delivery because of its effectiveness.”
— Puneet Maheshwari, CEO of DocASAP
Telemedicine is an excellent alternative for patients who cannot come to the doctor physically. The doctor will contact patients remotely to provide the necessary consultation.
Guidelines for Starting Telehealth Operations
The first goal when rolling out a telehealth platform for existing brick-and-mortar medical facilities and services is to convert those existing patients/clients to the telehealth platform. It is easier and more useful to transfer existing patients to telemedicine than to attract new patients who you don’t already have a relationship with. It is also worth paying particular attention to both the technical and the legal aspects of running a telehealth platform. For example, your platform may need to be HIPAA-compliant; under no circumstance should you put your patients' personal information at risk of leaking. This is why it is worth choosing very reliable partners and providers.
Types of Telemedicine Workflow
- Visiting your resource without an appointment – if a patient is using telemedicine for the first time, it likely means that he or she is not interested in seeing a particular doctor, but does prioritize getting a consultation as soon as possible.
- By appointment – in this case, the patient likely prefers to get a consultation with a particular doctor, as they have most likely already been to an offline consultation or met the doctor personally.
Your first priority should be the flexibility of the selected system you will purchase or create for your project. In this case, flexibility means the ability to cooperate and interface with all your processes. We recommend testing your platform for a long time during the development and customization process to ensure everything suits you, your needs, and your processes.
For example, you will be able to pay attention to the following aspects:
- Add or remove providers from the system waiting room.
- Set up a link to the system waiting room as a separate page on the site.
- Embed the waiting room as an "Enter Waiting Room" button in each patient's office.
“Introducing telemedicine is a massive step forward that can serve as an excellent competitive advantage. That way, even amid a worldwide pandemic, you can stay in constant contact with your patients and provide them advanced medical services. All you’ll need is special software.”
— Vlad Medvedovsky at Proxet, custom software development solutions company
Keys to the Ideal Telemedicine System
We have examined telemedicine processes implemented around the world, and identified the key characteristics for any telemedicine system:
- An integrated system that incorporates doctor notes, doctor's schedules, automatic patient billing, and the ability to search the site.
- Integration of medical devices so patients automatically receive updates from sensors on their bodies, such as a glucose meter or blood pressure device. Sensor tracking and alerts is a must, as it will make it much easier for doctors to track patient data.
- A waiting room and a private office for each user.
Telemedical Services: Buy or Build in 2021
Depending on the platform you choose and the level of interaction, you may want to add a dedicated software developer to your team. Keep in mind that the more complex the system you want to implement, the more time, effort, and money it will take to create it. Keep this in mind when setting deadlines for tasks.
“The combination of patient data, advanced algorithms, and remote interaction platforms for communication with physicians is turning into one of the great opportunities of the moment. Overall, patient-doctor interaction is far from what it should or could be in most countries."
— Enrique Dans, Professor of Innovation at IE Business School
Virtual telemedicine can provide care of a patient using motion-tracking, wearable devices to measure key patient health indicators. It is perhaps one of the most promising implementations of telemedicine.
You can purchase existing software in the market to implement your telemedicine system. But if you have studied the pros and cons of available systems and found them wanting, we recommend you to contact a company that deals with custom software development solutions.
How to Create Your Own Service for Telemedicine
Telemedicine is currently a very trendy topic in healthcare because it opens up so many possibilities. Telemedicine is becoming a more and more competitive niche every day, mainly due to the worldwide pandemic.
What are the benefits of telemedicine for the development of your healthcare service or business?
- It becomes easier to share patient data with doctors, get the results of tests and analyses, and easily segment the information.
- Patient data security, and secure communication with patients via video.
- Real-time communication to adjust treatment or clarify treatment details.
Some healthcare services and businesses start their journey into telemedicine without even a minimal set of necessary tools and techniques, or defined expectations and specifications. Before you decide to implement telemedicine in your company, it's worth making a sound judgment about whether it makes sense for your project. Is it worth buying an off-the-shelf solution or developing your own?
Make sure your team has the right equipment. If you don't know what equipment to buy, here are some basic guidelines for beginners:
- You'll want tech-savvy employees
- Be aware of the limitations of video quality and download speed. The video connection will depend on the connection speed and the quality of the equipment you use.
- With antivirus software, overloaded Wi-Fi connections, and many old computers, you may need to get developers involved if you start having connection problems.
Proxet is ready and able to provide software to implement telemedicine. Staffed by experts and developers with years of experience in this field, Proxet can successfully deliver your telemedicine project.
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