Since making its debut in the late 1950s, telemedicine has greatly contributed to transforming the healthcare domain. According to the latest available data, in 2018, the global Telemedicine Market size was valued at 31.46 Billion USD and it is expected to grow at a CAGR of 19.28%.
However, healthcare organizations across the globe still seem to be having a hard time choosing between various types of telemedicine options or platforms available today.
To ease things down a bit, we’ve listed the different types of telemedicine platforms in this guide and present factors that will help you to choose the best one for your healthcare organization.
The 3 Types of Telemedicine
There are three main types of telemedicine, namely: real-time interactive medicine, store-and-forward, and remote monitoring. Each of these categories has a useful role to play in holistic health care and, when utilized appropriately, can offer tangible benefits for both healthcare providers and patients.
1. Real-time Interactive Medicine
Interactive services can present spontaneous advice before patients who require immediate medical attention. There are many different mediums leveraged for this purpose, including phone, online calls, and home visits.
A consultation about presenting symptoms and medical history of the patient can be undertaken, followed by evaluation of their condition similar to those mostly conducted during face-to-face appointments in the medical setting.
Teleneuropsychology is an excellent example of this particular type of telemedicine. It includes consultation and assessment over the phone with individuals that have, or are suspected to have been affected by, a cognitive disorder. Standard evaluation procedures are put to use to assess the patient by means of video technology.
A study from 2017 found that this method provides a reliable and feasible substitute for traditional face-to-face consultations.
Store-and-forward telemedicine, also known as ‘asynchronous telemedicine’, is a method in which healthcare providers share patient medical information like imaging studies, lab reports, videos, and other records with a radiologist, physician, or any relevant specialist who might be at a different location.
It isn’t different from an email, however, it is done through a platform that has sophisticated and inbuilt security features to safeguard the patient’s privacy.
Store-and-forward telemedicine is a methodical way for primary care providers, patients, and specialists to get together and analyze the information gathered during the inspection, at a time that is suitable for them.
This approach gives patients complete access to a care team that can be made up of providers in distinct locations, even in different time zones and across long distances.
Store-and-forward is particularly favored for diagnoses and treatment involving certain specialties such as ophthalmology, dermatology, and radiology.
3. Remote Monitoring
Remote patient monitoring, commonly known as ‘telemonitoring’, is a practice that enables healthcare professionals to monitor a patient’s vital activities and signs from a distance.
This type of telemedicine is frequently used for the administration of patients that are at a high-risk, like people who have recently been released from the hospital or those with heart conditions and other such chronic diseases.
For instance, remote monitoring can be used by diabetics to keep track of their glucose levels and pass on the data to their doctor. Elderly patients in assisted living facilities or even at home can be inexpensively and conveniently and monitored through this technique.
Choosing the Best Telemedicine Platform for your Healthcare Practice
So, you’re set to add telemedicine to your healthcare practice. But how can you know for sure which telemedicine platform will improve your practice? Or how long the telemedicine implementation will take?
Every healthcare provider has a different set of requirements. But there are a few common considerations that can help each one choose the right platform for their healthcare practice. They are:
1. Patient Experience
With the rapid growth in the popularity of telemedicine, providers should examine what elements steer patient experience before anything else. For instance, providers ought to comprehend how the patient will interact with certain telemedicine technology. Is the primary mode of communication going to be a laptop or mobile device?
In addition, you also need to decide if you want to utilize the telemedicine platform you choose for pre or post-operative care.
Finally, providers need to assimilate patient feedback to help reconstruct any operational failures or changes in the present patterns or frequency of communication.
2. Technology Requirements
Not all telemedicine platforms are created alike. Therefore, telemedicine implementation time can largely differ across each one. Some platforms, for instance, might require installation of certain hardware or software, while there are others that don’t need any complex integration.
Getting a custom telemedicine app built for your practice that can seamlessly amalgamate with your current workflow, will speed up implementation time and improve your overall telemedicine ROI.
You also need to think about how easy the platform is to use. Remember, your patients are going to use this tool too, therefore, you need to integrate a platform that is user-friendly.
3. Time to Implement
Telemedicine implementation with other technologies, such as electronic medical software (EMR) systems, can get you the efficiency you need, within the time you need, and help you better understand data. However, integrating any telemedicine platform into your EMR system is definitely going to take some time.
Some telemedicine vendors may take a few weeks or even a few months at times. And if your practice has numerous EMRs then that timeline might take even longer to get completed. Hence, many healthcare providers often choose a telemedicine vendor that doesn’t require EMR integration.
Video chat technology has become a prominent EMR integration workaround for the majority of healthcare providers today. With this telemedicine platform, you can easily make a video call and document the EMR later.
Arkenea, a telemedicine app development company, can help you build your telemedicine platform, as it’s doing for many other healthcare organizations. Get in touch for a free quote.
4. Telemedicine ROI
Telemedicine ROI can be a multi-faceted consideration. You will first have to comprehend the total cost of any software or hardware and the total cost per license. Other questions you can ask yourself are: Will I have to add additional network servers or new staff members?
The majority of healthcare providers simply focus on how much they will be charging per visit.
While it’s significant to know how many visits you will be needing per month or year to break even, you should also examine operational planning. For example with post or pre-operative care: If you could clear even 20-30% of your surgeon’s time through video telemedicine, how many additional operations will they be able to perform?
5. Telemedicine Reporting
Lastly, you need a telemedicine platform that will measure data analytics and the productivity of your video telemedicine calls. But essentially, you want to compute feedback received from the patient’s end.
As a medical practitioner, you first need to ensure that the telemedicine platform you choose is freeing up your time as estimated. Next up, on the patient’s side, doctor referrals have gained extreme traction. So, you would definitely want to know right away what your patient’s experience has been like.
All said you need a telemedicine platform that is convenient, user-friendly and enables patients to provide feedback once their treatment has culminated.