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What is telemedicine software?

Telemedicine software is any solution that equips medical providers to evaluate or treat patients remotely using secure telecommunications tools like video chats, text messages, phone, and email. It facilitates reliable communication between patients and healthcare providers. With this software solution, doctors can check in on patients with an injury, diagnose an illness, or write a prescription — all without seeing the patient in person.

Most telemedicine platforms offer secure on-premise systems installed on the medical practice’s computers or cloud-based solutions. Good telemedicine software ensures private, HIPAA-compliant, and high-quality video consultations. Hospitals, clinics, and physicians use this software for communicating with patients and other providers.

While videoconferencing is the most common form of telemedicine, the software has a broader range of use cases. This technology can include tools for sending and receiving still images, or monitoring vital signs remotely. Telemedicine software unifies all the necessary technology for healthcare providers to attend to patients whenever they need it, regardless of location and physical limitations.

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Telemedicine vs telehealth

Some people confuse telemedicine with telehealth. However, there are important differences between the two terms.

Telemedicine

Telemedicine specifically refers to remote tools and processes that allow doctors to provide clinical services to patients at a distance without an in-person visit. It also covers managing chronic conditions and medications, specialist consultations, and other services that can be accommodated through video conferencing.

Examples of telemedicine include digital transmissions of medical imaging, remote medical evaluations, and video consultations with specialists. Telemedicine is a subcategory of telehealth that refers solely to remote clinical healthcare services.

Telehealth

Telehealth differs from telemedicine as it refers to a more extensive range of remote healthcare services. It is not limited to doctor and patient consultations, as it involves distributing health-related services and information via electronic technologies.

Telehealth can include remote non-clinical services, such as administrative or educational training for healthcare providers. Nurses, pharmacists, or social workers can use telehealth to communicate. Examples of telehealth software are public health applications that notify people of a disease outbreak in their area, or mobile apps that patients use to check their blood pressure.

How does telemedicine software work?

Telemedicine platforms empower healthcare providers to care for patients using only a smartphone or computer with an internet connection. Today, telemedicine solutions can be used for different purposes.

  • Routine follow-up consultations: Telemedicine software is used for doctor visits that do not require on-site diagnostics.
  • Virtual consultations: The software lets patients book an online consultation with a doctor through a phone call, text chat, or video conference.
  • Chronic disease treatment: Telemedicine solutions offer a more affordable means of treating and managing chronic conditions. This can include video appointments to monitor how a patient is doing on a new diet or medication.

Types of telemedicine software

There are three main types of telemedicine software solutions.

Remote Patient Monitoring (RPM)

Also known as home telemedicine, remote patient monitoring (RPM) enables medical providers to track patients’ health via various connected medical devices. Physicians can monitor patients online to observe their conditions, monitor therapy, and detect symptoms to prevent serious health complications.

RPM helps physicians catch potential warning signs before they become more serious, and offers patients more convenience and less risk. This solution is especially helpful for elderly patients or those recovering from a major injury or illness. It allows medical providers to collect patient health information while the patient is in their own home.

Store-and-forward Telemedicine

Also called asynchronous telemedicine, store-and-forward telemedicine gives doctors the ability to send medical data like photos, information on vital signs, and recorded patient videos to another physician for better diagnosis or consultation. The software gathers, analyzes, and securely transfers patients’ medical records.

It is widely used in radiology, dermatology, pathology, and other areas of medicine with a limited number of specialists. Store-and-forward telemedicine streamlines remote collaboration for patients, healthcare providers, and specialists by enabling secure data sharing.

Real-time Telemedicine

This type of telemedicine involves two-way, real-time interaction between the patient and the healthcare provider. Patients can consult doctors via phone calls, text chat rooms, or online video conferences. The system stores the patient’s medical history, accessible to the doctor and the patient.

Real-time telemedicine is most similar to an in-person visit, but without the cost, time, and physical effort of going to a healthcare facility. It is convenient to all parties and is particularly effective in protecting immunocompromised patients.

Telemedicine software benefits

Telemedicine software can benefit both healthcare providers and patients.

Benefits for medical providers

Increased revenue

Telemedicine software solutions cut down the time taken to interact with patients, giving doctors and healthcare institutions the advantage to acquire, treat, and retain more patients.

Reduced operating costs

Most telemedicine software providers offer digital front-door features such as mobile pre-registration/check-in, eliminating the need for office staff to handle repetitive tasks. Moreover, virtual appointments require no office space, theoretically reducing office overhead.

Improved efficiency

Telemedicine platforms often come with automated features that optimize workflow and processes for healthcare providers, letting them increase efficiency and quality of care.

Minimized appointment cancellations

The software allows patients to consult with the doctor remotely, regardless of unforeseen circumstances such as bad weather.

Expanded healthcare services to remote areas

With telemedicine solutions, healthcare practitioners can attend to patients in remote and rural locations.

Benefits for patients

Added convenience

One of the most significant benefits of telemedicine is the convenience it brings to patients. It enables individuals to get the medical assistance they need wherever they are.

Reduced costs and expenses

With telemedicine, patients don’t need to spend money on gas or parking to get to the hospital or clinic. Telemedicine can be particularly helpful to patients from remote areas who have to spend more traveling overnight to access specialists.

Better health security

Telemedicine minimizes contagion risks for patients, as they won’t be commuting to the doctor’s office or waiting in the clinic.

Business impact of telemedicine software

Telemedicine software has greatly increased in popularity in recent years, especially since the rise of the COVID-19 pandemic. These solutions offer a convenient and cost-effective way for people to get the care and treatment they need without leaving their homes. Healthcare organizations using telemedicine technologies gain a competitive advantage, as they can provide on-demand services and reduce operational costs.

Telemedicine platforms enable hospitals and clinics to deliver quality care to patients when and where they need it. Timely diagnosis and early treatment can lead to improved health outcomes. This software also enhances the patients’ experience by decreasing their waiting times and keeping them safe from exposure to disease.

Reputable telemedicine software companies offer HIPAA-compliant, customizable solutions to meet the healthcare institution’s specific workflows and needs. This is why the right telemedicine platform can boost revenue after implementation.

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