Telemedicine is becoming a hot trend in the changing landscape of 2020. It’s due in no small part to the coronavirus that people are getting to eventually adopt virtual medical care. Billions are currently being quarantined, which might become the main reason for telemedicine to get widespread acceptance worldwide.
In the year 2019, the global telemedicine market was valued at USD 30.7 billion. Amid the pandemic crisis of 2020, it’s already estimated at USD 31.4 billion and is forecast to reach USD 75.2 billion by 2027. Most experts concur that telemedicine provides a new dimension to the medical sector in the long run. Therefore, while this industry is still in its early stages of development, it’s a good idea to try to become part of it. In our article, we’re going to talk about what telemedicine is, what benefits it offers, why one must look at the development of a telemedicine app in 2020, the way to do that and how much it may cost.
What is telemedicine?
Telemedicine is a clinic and a set of services offered by health care employees through the application of information technology. The end goal of telemedicine is to allow the efficient evaluation, identification, and treatment of a patient from a remote location unless there are pressing symptoms requiring an in-person evaluation. Essentially, the most typical telemedicine use cases include:
- Interactive real time digital consultations
- Online follow-up visits
- Remote health monitoring
- Test results exchange and discussion
- Prescription of medication or prescription renewal
As a result, under certain conditions, patients can find a opportunity to obtain the health care they need without leaving the comfort of their houses. Being present in the hospital to be treated and diagnosed, thus, becomes unnecessary. Now, healthcare experts can offer remote services to individuals using modern telemedicine solutions in the kind of mobile apps and applications for PCs.
The telemedicine services delivery is mediated by so-called doctor-on-demand apps. As time goes by, they’re growing to be more widely appreciated as a means to connect health care providers with patients. On-demand software platforms such as streaming solutions, cab mobile apps, or food-delivery applications have become a new normal. So, telemedicine apps also have embarked on this route. Even more, everything that’s happening on the world scene in 2020 contributes to the rapid expansion in telemedicine applications’ popularity. Because of this, telemedicine applications that used to target a rural population, physically handicapped, company employees, or any other special social groups are now turning into a service for everyone. If you are looking for an MRI machine, have a look at the used or refurbished MRI machines as you can save a lot of money there.
Advantages of a telemedicine app
Telemedicine software solutions allow managing the multiple facets of healthcare operations on a single platform. Thus, both physicians and patients are in a position to derive a lot of benefits from using them frequently. Specifically, telemedicine apps make health care services more accessible, cost-effective, and not as bureaucracy-ridden.
1. ) Increased availability under any conditions. Telemedicine apps enable patients to decrease their in-person follow-ups. It assists individuals virtually connect with their doctors through an app installed on a device of consumers’ choice whenever they need this. People today have a tendency to postpone physician visits until they can. They have a number of other things going on in their lives, so that they see no point in altering their schedule due to a minor health issue.
However, such a custom gets the opposite side, also. When this problem becomes really nagging (and this can happen unexpectedly), there may be no opportunity to book an appointment with a certain healthcare provider. A shortage of physicians is an issue in developing countries and advanced economies also. By way of instance, the United States is reportedly expected to see a shortage of 54,100 to 139,000 physicians by 2033. Telemedicine apps can partially alleviate the burden — physician appointments through an app take less time and effort; they’re generally easier to arrange and, therefore, more accessible.
2. ) Cost-effectiveness. Telehealth applications can be rewarding for professionals and, at precisely the exact same time, they have the capacity to permit patients to save their cash. It’s widely believed (and not for nothing) that telemedicine isn’t merely a more efficient approach to take care of patients, but it is also a convenient way to enlarge a clinic’s or particular practitioner’s earnings stream. Reduced staffing costs, a larger patient pool, along with an expanded selection of health experts are all of the different characteristics which are related to telehealth apps and donate to the cost-effectiveness of a telemedicine app.
Among the possible and the most viable choices is when a healthcare business already has a physical centre connected with it. It may be a hospital, clinic, or medical facility. Then, telemedicine will become another source of revenue for this location. An mHealth application will help physicians serve more patients every day. Medical facilities will spend less on nurses’ salaries, as an app with the correct technologies in place will finish those tasks more accurately and economically. And patients will find an chance to get better services at a lower price.
3. Less excessive bureaucracy. Most companies avoid red tape like the plague. However, the healthcare industry is such a sector of the market which has a historically close relationship with the red tape. In actuality, there are regulations such as HIPAA standing in the method of delivering quality health care services via apps. But everything is changing today. Some extensive telehealth restrictions are being raised, payments for telemedicine services are being expanded, and policymakers are usually prepared to alter established regulations in this area.
Mobile iOS and Android telemedicine apps send incoming information to servers. Conversation recordings, patients’ health records, and other personal data are possibly in danger of being (either inadvertently or purposefully) revealed. However, all that info normally makes interactions between physicians and patients more fruitful. And suppose sufficient security measures are required to safeguard that information. If that’s the situation, a telemedicine program platform will really help maximize the process, only requiring the crucial information to be placed in by a patient and a health care provider.
Telehealth app features
During the coronavirus, physicians urge patients to substitute in-person visits with apps. Telemedicine applications which were originally formulated to serve rural patients have been the instrument for linking those two parties: patients and health care workers. They keep people at a safe distance from one another and, by doing this, undoubtedly, play a critical new role at the time of their COVID-19 pandemic.
However, what attributes do these telehealth apps will need to satisfy their purpose effectively? To begin with, there surely must be a differentiation between an app for patients and an app for physicians. Besides, there’s a significant difference between the must-have qualities of a telehealth app and its innovative features. Let us look into this issue and learn what a telemedicine app must include.
Must-have qualities of a patient app
Patients who face difficulty when trying to see their physician’s office in-person will be the first to benefit from telemedicine. A telehealth app helps build and cultivate an superb patient-provider connection, which is essential to ensuring innovative patient care and enabling the seamless decrease in the average cost per visit to a primary care doctor. A telemedicine app for patients enables people to see their physician even if they are physically in different places. The expertise specialists’ experience is thus being leveraged remotely, supported by these features:
Authentication. Security and usability are the top priorities in software development. For an app to be helpful (and especially it’s true for the one concerned with your health issues), it has to be simple to use and secure enough to be entrusted with one’s personal data. An authentication process has to be designed in the exact same manner. Patients should be able not just to register and log in but also to take action without hazarding security. Multi-factor authentication and biometric identification will help secure login credentials and confirm a patient.
Finding a physician. The value of search performance in mobile apps cannot be overstated. A telehealth app is no exception. In telemedicine applications, patients should be provided a handy tool for not just connecting to a physician on demand but also for finding the perfect specialist to get help from. Using filters, like specialty, language, sex, or insurance provider, patients need to have the ability to find a physician who will be qualified to take care of the issue.
Appointment booking. A patient app must allow for intuitive and effortless appointment booking. After the filters are applied, and a user receives the choice of experts that meet the selected criteria, they should encounter no obstacles in scheduling their appointment.
Video or sound consultations. Telemedicine apps are usually used for consultations and ongoing disease management. So as to consult, make diagnoses, track the distant individual’s condition, primary care providers or experts have to access the sound or video chatting feature. During these real time virtual visits, patients should be able to freely interact with physicians via audio or video which are of high quality with low latency. Ideally, after the call ends, a patient needs to be in a position to, at most, begin treatment straight away (with a clear diagnosis, treatment plan, and other helpful recommendations) or, at least, have a record of tests to run to define the diagnosis.
Safe messaging. Visual cues have the capability to make a large difference in identifying indicators of disease. A live chat feature can supply the capacity to exchange visual information. Providers and patients must have the ability to exchange information prior to, during, and after a call using a communication channel protected by end-to-end encrypted messaging protocols such as Curve25519, AES-256, and HMAC-SHA256. A chat feature is a handy tool for health care providers to provide written directions and to allow their patients to request online aid or provide more details about their treatment if there is not any possibility to call.
Reviews and ratings. Based on the findings of the Software Advice survey, 90 percent of respondents use online reviews to rate doctors, 71 percent of respondents use online reviews as their first step in picking a new doctor, 43 percent of respondents are prepared to go from their existing insurance policy network for a supplier with more positive reviews, and 1% thinks it is important for a health care provider to respond openly to negative feedback. So, ratings and testimonials matter. Give patients a convenient tool for expressing their opinion and writing reviews upon virtual consultations with physicians on a telemedicine app.
Patients see history. Patients and physicians need to have the ability to access their previous medical records from a telemedicine application. Information about previous visits have to be confidential but nevertheless easily accessible by the physician and patient. That will help physicians make informed decisions more quickly and enable patients to avoid trouble when changing their supplier. Consulting new medical providers will be more successful when they can access patients’ medical records quickly.
Wireless testing. Virtual physician appointments aren’t the only possible way in which telemedicine may get the job done. There’s many different health care services permitted by health informatics. Thus, patients may benefit from a telehealth app for a means to conduct wireless testing for remote health monitoring. IoT devices on the Internet can transmit information on blood pressure, glucose levels, ECG results, etc. to a diagnostic centre to ensure a patient and their healthcare provider could get the results as soon as they are prepared and view them with a telemedicine app. As the amount of health apps and monitors for smartphones raises, wireless testing gets easier for everybody.
Characteristics of a physician’s dashboard
Telemedicine program development not only helps patients to observe the health care specialist and get treatment because of the consultation, but in addition, it enables providers to reinforces the relationship with their patients and develops the current patient base. A physician’s dashboard is a kind of telemedicine software and also a location where medical providers can find all the essential functionality to support them in achieving their professional objectives. The dashboard will enable doctors to get in touch with their patients to offer care, thus taking advantage of these attributes:
Appointment administration. In addition to using a needed functionality to make a physician’s profile (which is a matter of course in a telemedicine app), there must be attributes allowing doctors to handle their program and set reminders for their appointments. Like in the case with any on-demand service app, physicians need to have the ability to accept or reject appointment bookings and keep track of the schedules.
Patient administration. Telemedicine is used for ongoing health monitoring, initial consultations, health checks, and a lot more. And no matter what specific aim a patient pursues when using a telehealth app, the best results are attained when the outcomes of the visits and the rest of the information circulating around are correctly recorded and kept in a neat sequence so that no outsider could access the records.
Prescription administration. Doctors need to have the ability to issue their prescriptions digitally and discuss them with the patient after the very same criteria of appropriate practice as those in conventional in-person settings. Remote prescribing is becoming standard practice, but for this to be lawful, a doctor-patient relationship has to be valid. As an example, generally, issuing a prescription based solely on an internet questionnaire doesn’t constitute an acceptable standard of care.
Billing. First and foremost, in-app medical billing is suitable. Anyway, if a telemedical application has the functionality to collect insurance information, the billing process will be as easy as possible. Payments for each trip will consequently be automatically collected from patients. Doctors will have the ability to monitor their private earnings on a dashboard, and hospitals will see the income stream along with all the details included.
Feedback observation. As we mentioned previously, reviews and evaluations are of enormous value to patients. They rely heavily on what others say about a given healthcare specialist and typically pick the doctors that have a higher score than a larger number of reviews than others. Therefore, doctors will need to keep an eye on patients’ opinions about them, motivate them to leave testimonials, and react to all of the comments, whether positive or negative.
Advanced features of a telemedicine app
Those were some must-have characteristics that could turn an app into a telemedicine solution. However, if one wants to stick out from the competition, it’s an excellent idea to give zest to the solution and supply advanced features in addition to the normal ones. Take a look at the list of top features that you needs to consider adding to their customized telemedicine app solutions and determine what benefits they could bring to their company.
Video appointment recording. Having remote appointments with physicians is what users expect by default from a telemedicine app. But, providing them with records and transcripts of the visits is a rather distinctive feature that may either become a way to market your application or build trust. All users must do is locate the reserved telemedicine visit, review instructions, start a trip, and, when prompted to permit recording, select if they would like to grant the access.
EHR integration. Electronic health records or EHR may be a standalone solution for keeping patients’ medical history. It’s normally maintained by a health care provider and contains all administrative, clinical information related to a patient. The principal advantage of EHR is that it automates access to data and so streamlines workflow. Consequently, EHR integration, showcasing increased clarity and precision, can turn into another monetization method for a telehealth app and a substantial advancement. It’ll be a telemedicine module which may require additional fees to be applied.
Pharmacy database. To allow users — both physicians and patients to more easily navigate medication prescriptions, a telemedicine app should have a library of online resources describing specific medical problems, active pharmaceutical ingredients and products. This knowledge database is meant to help doctors or nurses clarify healthcare-related phenomena and treatment plans to patients. They will then have the ability to refer a patient to the in-app database or a site where all essential information are available.
Personalized patient feed. A customized feed for patients can act as a place to view their medical records, updates from doctors, and other significant health information. It must be the first thing users see when they start a telemedicine app. It’s an exceptional practice to create the conditions for an individual under which no update could be possibly missed.
Telemedicine has taken off during the pandemic, and it’s definitely here to stay. The telehealth age is upon us, and it’ll only continue to drive improvements in the medical market. Patients will have the ability to find the best suppliers, irrespective of how far they are from each other. The health practitioners will continue embracing new technology on a wider scale and so become empowered to deliver higher-quality support to more people.
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