Benefits of Telehealth Software Solutions for Patients and Doctors
For non-emergency dermatology issues, a new patient from Boston has to wait over 70 days for an appointment with a doctor. People with heart disorders and obstetrics-gynecology requests in Washington and Boston accordingly have to expect for more than 30 days.
Even though the wait time to see a primary care physician (PCPs) can be less than 20 minutes, getting an appointment turns out to be a real challenge. 60% of people expect over two weeks only to arrange a visit to a PCP.
The wait time grows each year, making it impossible for people to get the necessary medical assistance in due time. The doctors’ rating and patients satisfaction drop down because of this. The 9th Vitals Report states that 84% of patients think acceptable wait time is of significant importance in the overall experience at the medical institution. Moreover, 1 in 5 respondents in this report states that they had to pick another doctor because of long wait times.
It is no surprise that people are more likely to use telehealth software to get individualized and proper care instead of traditional medical institutions. In this article, we will discuss the state of telehealth, its benefits for both patients and doctors, and learn some successful telemedicine applications in real life.
The State of Telehealth in 2020 and Prediction for the Future
This year telehealth solutions had a spike in demand in the entire healthcare sector because of a rapidly spreading coronavirus. Moreover, in March, the US government canceled its requirements to telehealth software solutions to enable patients to interact with doctors much easier and securely. Due to the benefits of telehealth, it has become possible not only to avoid long wait times but also to get fast medical assistance.
The telehealth market grows. In 2019, its global share was around $45 billion. However, it is forecasted that by 2026 it will grow by over $175 billion as reported by Global Market Insights.
Prior to the pandemic, the US has been making very slow steps toward developing the telehealth industry and switching to virtual medical care. Today, the necessity to maintain social distancing at hospitals and other medical institutions predicts up to 1 billion telehealth interactions by the end of 2020.
Telehealth Solutions vs. Telemedicine vs. Telecare
Before discussing the benefits of telehealth services, let’s talk about the differences between three commonly confused notions.
Let’s start with telemedicine. This term is used when you want to describe remote medical services provided by doctors through three main telecommunication tools such as live conferences, remote patient monitoring (RPM), and store-and-forward. Among examples of such services, one can name medical screening, diagnosis statements, closely monitoring a patient’s progress after treatment, video-consultations with clinicians.
Telecare combines a set of particular technologies empowering people to control their health conditions autonomously. For instance, telecare technology implies using computers, smartphones, and individual electronic devices (wearables), that monitor various health indicators. Thus, telecare allows for connected remote tracking of vital signs, their fluctuations, and receiving notifications and reminders.
Finally, telehealth encompasses a broader spectrum of healthcare-related services provided by doctors, nurses, pharmacists, and other medical care staff through telecommunications. For example, people can get the following services: health education, real-time clinician-patient consultations, monitoring of vital signs, diagnoses, e-prescriptions, social support and assistance on accurate medical adherence, and much more.
Benefits of Telehealth Services for Patients
Telemedicine can be helpful in a wide range of health conditions, from managing chronic diseases to pre-operation consultations. Have a look at the advantages of telehealth from a patient perspective.
Saved Time and Money
Traveling to the hospital is always troublesome and time-consuming. Adults usually need to take time off work and get paid less or need to find where to leave kids. With telemedicine RPM solutions, people don’t need to waste hours getting to the doctor on time as well as they don’t have to pay for extra expenses such as gas, parking, food, babysitters, and sometimes even hotels. The study shows that a person can save US$19–US$121 per e-visit.
Moreover, reduced waiting time can be more vital than ever. If an individual has specific symptoms (skin condition, cold, throat ache) that can be accurately diagnosed remotely, they get care faster via video-chat and therefore get better that much faster.
Comfort and Privacy
Millennials, who number 40% of all workforce worldwide, prefer using telehealth, finding it convenient and cost-effective. Indeed, virtual medicine can be a solution for non-emergency conditions, allowing individuals to be examined through video-chat comfortably. Plus, telehealth services are always private, so that nobody knows why and what doctor you visit. As a result, patients have less stress and feel safer.
Today telemedicine has become more in demand due to pandemic related issues, like overcrowded hospitals, the risk of getting infected or transmitting the disease to somebody. The rate of people who got infected with coronavirus in hospitals reached 20%, where some cases were due to medics who had no symptoms. By staying home, people get the care they need while minimizing their exposure to a contagious disease and passing their illness on to another person.
Overall Health Improvement
Telehealth services are the best fit for individuals who want to promote their overall health, adhere to prescribed medications, handle chronic conditions, and closely monitor their state. The ability to see your doctor anytime and from any place is the main advantage over traditional medicine.
Benefits of Telehealth Services for Providers
Another great benefit of telehealth solutions is to facilitate doctors’ work, mostly, to help them generate more revenue, improve patient responsibility, and be flexible. Here are a few of the benefits of telehealth for providers.
Usually, video chats with patients are more productive and take less time than physical ones. This allows clinicians to examine more people faster and earn more. Moreover, as the statistics of Indeed shows, in the US, telemedicine physicians’ salary is US$30 per hour more than compensation of regular physicians.
Minimized Risk to Get Sick
Due to pandemic spreading, healthcare providers became at risk of catching a virus as it’s highly contagious. For example, in Spain, almost 14% of all COVID-19 cases made medical specialists. Thus, telemedicine services are incredibly helpful for contactless and safe communication with patients.
Thanks to the ubiquitous nature of telemedicine, modern doctors can take patients virtually from any location. This also makes it possible for healthcare providers to adjust their working schedules per their preferences. Whether they need more hours, they can perform e-visits on days off, without the need to present in practice.
Better Patient Engagement
According to the investigation at Massachusetts General Hospital, almost 80% of patients said that e-visit was more comfortable than a physical meeting with a doctor. Thus, providers can achieve better patient involvement and greater responsibility. E-visits can help make people more engaged in monitoring their conditions and following treatment procedures regularly, such as taking medications in time, leading a healthier lifestyle.
Harmony Between Work and Private Life
Telehealth is a perfect option for clinicians to work remotely when they find it suitable. As medical workers tend to get tired from a constant stream of patients and see them in person, it’s also an excellent opportunity to breathe in and breathe out to get calmed and reduce stress. Hence, doctors and healthcare personnel can have more rest, travel, and still be occupied with their patients. They manage their workday as they wish and enjoy an improved work-life balance.
Satisfied Office Personnel
The fewer people in hospitals, the fewer administrative tasks fall on office employees. Video-conferences and remote patient monitoring reduce the need to physically serve each patient, minimize the staff’s exposure to catch an infection and make waiting rooms less crowded. Therefore, practice workers are happier and can focus on crucial tasks.
Fewer Cancelled Visits
It’s frustrating for clinic personnel when patients don’t come for arranged visits, cancel or reschedule them. Such patient cancellations and missed appointments cost the US medical system over US$150 billion annually. The ability to replace in-person meetings with virtual meetings is a win-win for both sides. Doctors will have more opportunities to help people get better without wasting precious time and money.
New Revenue Opportunities
Telemedicine can help increase revenue sources by turning free services into reimbursable options. For example, earlier, the discussion of test results with a doctor or monitoring post-operation health was free of charge, as people could be interviewed via the telephone. Now, each video-consultation can have a fixed price.
Telehealth Software: Delivering Services Through Dedicated Platforms
Today medical institutions offer two types of telehealth software to ensure their services are accessible, quality, and deliver real care to people. Thus, virtual medical assistance can be delivered in the following ways:
by the provider-to-provider platform, which allows telemedicine professionals to extend their expertise and resources by conducting training and sharing their experiences. This helps to promote the performance of telehealth medicine and deliver the utmost care to virtual patients. Also, using such platforms, clinics can solve problems with employee shortages;
by the provider-to-patient platform, which is used by medical specialists to deliver telehealthcare to patients. This may include live video-chats, remote patient monitoring, sending records of health history via secure digital channels.
Telehealth Solutions in Real-Life Examples
Telehealth is already on a path to radically transform the traditional medicine. There are many advantages of embracing telecommunication techs to improve the virtual doctor-patient relationship – convenience, lower costs, better people engagement, increased incomes, and more. There are also practical applications of telehealth. Let’s look at some of the most popular use cases.
Online pharmacy services refer to drug sale and review, consultations, verifying of e-prescriptions. Such services can be helpful for people who have diabetes or chronic heart diseases.
Chronic conditions maintenance. With individual electronic health record (EHR) devices, the patients can transmit the vital information on their pulse, heartbeat, glucose levels directly to healthcare providers. In turn, they can analyze this data and see when life signs aren’t typical and alert patients in case of an emergency.
Stroke management: Works for neurologists who help people with severe strokes to conduct therapeutic procedures and preserve their brain functions as long as possible.
Intensive treatment units (ITU):With telehealth solutions, the intensive therapy staff has around-the-clock opportunities to provide optimal support of patients with severe diseases.
Accessibility of specialists:Medical institutions are making use of telehealth services to make peculiar specialists easily accessible and competent. The latter include geriatricians, dentists, obstetricians, gynecologists, and others.
Psychotherapy: E-visits can help individuals with anxiety disorders to get behavioral assistance at home without the need to travel to the clinic and face danger during this trip.
Diagnosing eye conditions due to diabetes can prevent blindness. Remote patient monitoring increased quantity of people who passed eye examinations. As blindness is a common diabetes-related condition, its early diagnosis can help patients to have a quality life longer.
Controlling somnipathies: Through telehealth tools, special programs monitor patients with sleep disorders like apnea, record patterns, and then transfer data to clinicians who can analyze it and give necessary recommendations.
Conclusion: Developing a Dedicated Telehealth Software with Innovecs
Since Innovecs is an experienced global software development company, it delivers only robust products to its customers. We know how to build full-featured telehealth solutions.
One of the products we created from zero is a full-cycle telehealth system, available both online and on-premise. It successfully manages interactions between doctors and patients from different locations via e-visits, appointments, live video-chats, RPM, store-and-forward techniques, and more.
Our development starts with security first, compliance, scalability, and overall ease-of-use. If you want to get more insight into this topic, learn what solutions we have developed for our clients.