COVID-19 dramatically reshaped how healthcare is delivered throughout the world. Beginning with the early days of the pandemic, care providers and public health officials were forced to quickly adapt to a deadly, mysterious, and highly contagious pathogen as they focused on methods that reduced community spread and scarce clinical resources.
The rise of telemedicine
Telemedicine proved to be one of the most effective, long-enduring solutions to triumphantly emerge from the pandemic. Giving patients greater access to specialists, delivering improved outcomes, and reducing hospital visits, connected healthcare technology gave professionals the tools to safely and efficiently provide care at a distance. In a time of incredible uncertainty, telemedicine delivered on its long-established practice of providing patients with peace of mind, knowing that a routine or urgent health need wouldn’t be a risky endeavor jeopardized by the greater public health crisis.
With roots dating all the way back to the 1960s, the widespread practice and acceptance of telemedicine have taken great strides forward in just a few short years. According to McKinsey, the use of telehealth applications has increased 38x higher than its pre-COVID-19 levels, demonstrating the degree to which professionals and the public at large have come to rely on efficient and effective online care.1
For organizations tasked with telemedicine software development, adopting an existing telemedicine solution may seem like the fast-track to providing patients with remote care. But considering the wide range of telemedicine solutions on the market and the unique needs of every healthcare provider, a highly customized solution tailored to an organization’s specific needs is often a better match than a generic, off-the-shelf app.
What are the different categories of telemedicine software?1
Telemedicine solutions broadly fall into these categories:
- Store-and-forward. Also known as asynchronous telemedicine, store-and-forward solutions collect a patient’s health information and relay it electronically to another location. In these instances, a patient may have a professionally taken lab test or self-taken diagnostic photo that’s transmitted to a doctor or other healthcare professional to review at a future time. Store-and-forward telemedicine is widely used in fields like dermatology, ophthalmology, and radiology, and is also relied on by healthcare providers to share information with specialists in different locations.
- Remote monitoring. Healthcare monitoring via mobile devices enables healthcare providers to provide care without requiring patients to visit a clinic in person. Using connected medical equipment — such as blood pressure cuffs, temperature monitors, or spirometers — tablets or smartphones can gather patent vital signs and relay them to health professionals. Employing remote monitoring solutions enables healthcare providers to reduce the length of patient stays and decrease the overall total of care while still meeting patent demands.
- Real-time interactive services. Also known as synchronous telemedicine, real-time interactive services provide patients with electronic consultations through video or audio conferencing. Delivered over the internet in real-time, patients and medical professionals can discuss healthcare needs and undergo traditional office visits in a virtual environment. Often used for general doctor visits and in specialized practices like psychiatry, real-time interactive services can also make it easy for providers to write and prescribe patient medications remotely.
Why is custom-developed telemedicine software the best choice for healthcare organizations?
Just as no two patients are identical, the needs of medical practices can vary greatly from one to another. To deliver the greatest level of patient care and comfort, telemedicine software development should be custom-tailored to the specific requirements of each medical practice.
There are three major benefits healthcare organizations can expect from custom-built telemedicine software:
- Tailored to meet specific business objectives. Custom telemedicine software can be created to meet the specific business needs of a particular practice. From optimizing operational costs to increasing revenue, custom solutions make it easy to improve a practice’s performance and flexibility at a granular level.
- Instills confidence and trust. Although an off-the-shelf software solution might work for a traditional business application, healthcare is a highly personal line of work that demands a significant level of confidence and trust. Crafting a custom healthcare solution can give patients confidence that their electronic health needs are being handled by their familiar, in-person practice, thereby boosting patient engagement and loyalty.
- Ensures security. Privacy requirements and government regulations make data security imperative for any medical practice. By building a custom telemedicine solution, organizations can ensure that their solutions are HIPAA-compliant and compatible with a wide range of EMR/EHR tools. Not only can these safeguards ensure that private information is processed, but they can give patients the additional assurance that their data is being properly handled by professionals they already trust.
No matter the type of medical practice, custom-developed telemedicine software allows healthcare providers to give patients greater peace of mind, provide higher-quality service, and meet business objectives.
This post has been sponsored by ELEKS
Digital Health Buzz! aims to be the destination of choice when it comes to what’s happening in the digital health world. We are not about news and views, but informative articles and thoughts to apply in your business.