Telemedicine (or telehealth) is a reliable, high-quality and cost-efficient way to provide equal and timely access to healthcare. Most telemedicine platforms are software systems, web and mobile solutions, which enable doctors to consult their patients online. Telehealth provides a variety of functions, such as video visits, scheduling of appointments, management of electronic prescriptions etc. Telemedicine solutions ensure a balanced and equal healthcare coverage.
The functionality of telehealth platforms is intended for the remote management and provision of medical service. Telehealth platforms allow physicians to connect with patients via secure, high-resolution video for a remote visit, share medical images, send text messages or online chats in real-time, and submit prescriptions to the patient’s pharmacy, track patient health data, chart medical records with consulting physicians, document all remote patient visits, charge patients and get reimbursed from third party payers etc. Modern telehealth platforms provide a rich user experience, deep healthcare integration, advanced analytics, and high security.
What a platform consists of Patient portal
Patient portal is private web page that enables interaction with doctors in an interface that patients understand and feel comfortable to use. It may be realized via a web or mobile application.
Via a telemedicine platforms patients get access to healthcare providers profiles and additional medical services, can schedule visits at their convenience and conduct live video visits with preferred professionals.
There is a growing trend for documenting and storing all doctor-patient interactions digitally via EMRs. Telemedicine platforms are designed in a way that allows easy documentation and tracking all patient encounters, recording of visits and attaching necessary audio and video files to the patient’s health record and integrating them into patients’ files in EMRs.
Diet & Wellness tracking
Some telemedicine platforms can be connected to mobile medical and wearable devices that help patients track their medical data and then share it with doctors.
Practice management interface
Another important part of telemedicine platform is the interface for healthcare professionals that makes it easy for doctors to get access to patients’ data and provide distance consulting services.
Distance consulting “real-time” category of telehealth allow physicians to connect with their patients or other providers through secure, 2-way video. Real-time video is the best substitute for an in-person visit, since it allows the provider and patient to interact face-to-face and provides more visual data than a consult over the phone.
Majority of platforms offer integration of APIs and web services that allow seamless connection to systems of record—including EMRs.
Telehealth platforms offer the following features and benefits to doctors:
- secure, 2-way HD video for live consulting sessions
- EMR integration for real-time access to patient data
- integrated electronic prescription and billing to optimize workflows and create better value for doctors’ time
- reporting and analytic tools to monitor effectiveness of sessions (such as number of sessions, missed calls, archive, evaluation and more.
- Scheduling of visits
- Secure messaging, including on mobile phone
- Managing of patients’ charts and images (including store-and-forward features and integration into PHR)
Functionality for both patients and doctors
Telemedicine platforms generally support a number of features that make healthcare practice more efficient for patients and doctors alike.
A feature that supports on-demand and scheduled online visits via mobile and web applications. Patients can use on-demand and self-scheduling option to get care at a time that fits into their schedule. Providers can use dedicated time slots to fit in more visits.
Billing systems enable providers to charge and collect payment from patients and insurance companies within the telehealth system. Patients can pay with their credit cards of providing the information on file in their PHRs.
Secure HD video meetings over the Internet and 3G/4G/LTE mobile networks without the need for special hardware or IT infrastructure for both patients and healthcare providers.
File storage & exchange
Within telehealth platforms all patient information is available to a doctor during a telehealth visit — patient history, disease management, lab tests results etc. All this information can be exchanged between a patient and a doctor within the platform securely and remotely. Information from a telehealth visit is recorded and stored within the platform and is also readily available for further patient care.
Patients and doctors can communicate on acute care questions, additional or urgent matters within the platform that eliminates the need for other messaging services (Skype, WhatsApp, SMS etc).