Health ITBest Telehealth Platforms For Private Practices

By Jon Tornetta, PMP (Founder of meddkit.com)

If your EHR does not come with a telehealth option, fear not. Meddkit has compiled a list of the best standalone telehealth platforms. From that list, we have picked our favorite three telehealth vendors for private practices. Meddkit also created a report of the top telehealth platforms for private practices, which you can download here.

There are dozens of independent telehealth products well-suited for private practices. Expect to see a plethora of new telehealth offerings in the next year as healthcare IT companies follow the COVID-19 accelerated gold rush.

We recommend that you stick with whatever your EHR offers or use one of the lightweight applications covered below. Many of these new technologies will not last. Others will be hobbled together to meet the new market.

Unless you are very tech savvy, we urge caution when selecting vendors based on listed integrations and non-essential features. Or hopes to build them. The added workflow efficiencies are negligible for many small practice telehealth workflows. Plus, with relay races and software, the handoff is where catastrophes happen.

Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler. – Albert Einstein

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Want the full guide for the best telehealth platforms for private practices? Download it here.

Common telehealth workflows

  1. Appointment is scheduled
  2. Patient enters a virtual meeting room on the day of the appointment
    1. Single instance: The meeting link is the same for each appointment. Examples: Doxy.me, eVisit.
    2. Unique instances: The meeting link or password will differ for each appointment. Examples: Mend, Zoom, GoToMeeting, WebEx, Skype, Google Hangout, Teams, and FaceTime.
    3. Patient portal: Patient logs in to the patient portal to join a meeting.
  3. Patient completes a short intake & consent form
  4. Provider enters the room when ready
  5. Provider completes documentation and ends the meeting

A single instance workflow is often simpler to schedule and can be easier for patients to initiate. Since the meeting link remains constant, you should not need to double schedule, manually send meeting invitations or hassle with a scheduling interface from your EHR. Patients can select your single, static link from your website or from any pre-appointment notifications (texts, emails, calls) and you meet with them by selecting their name.

Unique instances can offer additional privacy and scalability. Since patients must first wait to receive a unique meeting link, you will not need to worry about unwanted persons entering your waiting room. To be clear, unwanted entrants should be a minor concern – and only for large multi-region practices. Since unique URLs are created for each appointment, automated reminders, employee turnover and administration is somewhat easier. You will not have patients attempting to enter an old URL after it has been discontinued. You will, however, need to double schedule, manually send invitations or setup an interface.

Patient portal workflows offer heighted privacy, scalability and functionality at the cost of patient engagement. The patient must first be registered with your patient portal. Before the meeting, the patient must log in with their username and password. For these reasons, adoption can suffer and patients can tend to arrive late.

Single instance workflows generally favor small practices and solo providers. Unique instances can be a better choice for a large practice or health system, as long as they are able to work out the scheduling interface. The scope of this guide is standalone telehealth technologies, not those within an EHR. Therefore, patient portal workflows will not be addressed.

Common features among the best telehealth platforms

All of the telehealth platforms that we reviewed have a few things in common:

  1. HIPAA compliance (i.e. a signed BAA) and 128 or 256-bit AES encryption for data stored at rest
  2. Reliable video and audio transmission
  3. Private, secure chat
  4. Online dashboards

We picked three platforms that provide the most reliable telehealth experience for small and medium sized private practices. We reviewed each of these, in detail.

They are:

  1. Doxy.me → best for solo providers and small practices looking for a free plan or simple, reliable telehealth in a matter of minutes
  2. Mend → best for larger practices who can allocate employee time and money to optimize their telehealth workflow
  3. VSee → best for developers or large organizations building an application that will include telehealth

Jump to all articles in this series

Want the full guide for the best telehealth platforms for private practices? Download it here.

This article has been sponsored by meddkit

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