Telehealth Technology Explained

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What is telehealth and how does it work?

What is telehealth and how does it work?

Telehealth refers to the delivery of healthcare services and information through an online platform. Continuous advancements in technology have led to the development of a range of features that allow individuals to receive high-quality healthcare from the comfort of their own home. This is especially important for people that live rurally, face other accessibility issues, or have limited options when it comes to seeing a specialist. The actual process of becoming a telehealth business is fairly simple. Initially, you need to select a telehealth platform that caters to your business needs. The software that you choose will largely depend on the size of your business, and the types of services that you offer. The technology will be integrated with different features, including secure video conferencing, electronic health record (EHR) systems, medical billing, appointment scheduling, and data storage. 

Most features of telehealth technology have been designed in collaboration with healthcare providers to ensure that they are beneficial for your practice. Highly integrated and sophisticated platforms will allow you to streamline various administrative tasks that have previously taken up a bulk of your time. With telehealth, not only can you provide higher quality healthcare to patients, but you can save your business significant amounts of both time and resources. These benefits are reflected in the massive growth of the telehealth industry, and in the first quarter of 2020, it was recorded that telehealth visits increased by 50%.

What technology is used in telehealth?

Whether you are starting your telehealth business from scratch or implementing certain telehealth features into your practice, you will need to make some decisions regarding what technology you use. These decisions will largely be based on what type of services your business is offering. For example, you may want to incorporate remote monitoring, which involves a healthcare provider remotely patient health from a distance. This form of telehealth technology is particularly useful for patients with chronic illnesses, so they can manage their own health in between appointments. Another form of telemedicine technology that is becoming increasingly common is real-time video conferencing. This allows physicians to connect with their patients via a secure online platform. Another decision you will need to make is in relation to the actual type of software that you use:

Client-server technology: This type of software requires the installation of software and hardware into your practice. Generally, the startup cost for implementing client-server technology can be extremely expensive, as you need to pay for licensing fees, software, hardware, and a team of IT experts who are responsible for installation. 

Cloud-based technology: More and more businesses are choosing to use cloud-based technology and it is easy to understand why. Your data is encrypted and stored by a remote provider, where it is said to be ‘on the cloud’. There are some concerns surrounding the security of information that is stored in the cloud, but advancements in technology have actually made this one of the safest places to keep your data. 

Some businesses will use various remote providers that each specialize in a different form of telehealth. Although this can work for some businesses, we recommend finding a platform that is integrated with every telehealth feature you require, so all of your data and information is stored in the same, secure location.

What technology is used in telehealth?
Tools needed for telehealth

Tools needed for telehealth

So now you understand the different types of technology included in telehealth, it is time to look at the tools. Once again, the specific requirements to operate a successful telehealth practice are largely dependent on how big your business is, and what services you offer. Some of the tools and equipment that you need to consider include:

The basics: The most important tools that will help your telehealth business run smoothly are the ones you use every day: computers and mobile devices. Working on the same system is helpful to ensure a unified workflow, so it could be a good idea to upgrade all of your physician’s computers. Most telehealth apps and platforms are also mobile-friendly, so ensuring everyone has access to a high-performing mobile device is also essential. 

Remote vital monitoring: These devices allow physicians to take the vital signs of a patient from a remote location. These monitors are designed to alert physicians to any major changes, so patients who are considered to be at significant risk can wear them continuously. 

Cameras: Having a high-quality camera is integral to offering virtual consultations. Not only will they make your business appear more professional, but some specialized physicians require high-quality resolution images to appropriately diagnose and treat patients.

There are countless other types of tools that are being used in telehealth, including virtual stethoscopes, otoscopes, and pulse oximeters. What your practice requires to operate efficiently will depend on the type of healthcare services that you offer. 

What are the benefits of telehealth systems & technology?

As the telehealth industry continuously grows, more and more research is being conducted on its benefits for both patients and physicians. Implementing telehealth software for private practices has been shown to have many advantages, including:

Time: We are currently experiencing a massive shortage of healthcare physicians, and most practices are struggling to find the time to see patients in need. Telehealth services are reducing the number of people going to urgent care for non-urgent issues, organizing schedules more efficiently, and streamlining various tasks. With the time that has been freed up by using telehealth, physicians are able to deliver their services to more patients in need.

Personalized care: Client-based care has become the framework for the healthcare industry, and with telehealth, you are able to put client needs first and improve patient satisfaction. With barriers like accessibility removed, physicians can have more frequent appointments with their patients, strengthening these relationships and focusing on more personalized care.

Reduced costs: Telehealth systems lead to reduced costs for both healthcare providers and patients. Integrated telehealth platforms streamline various administrative tasks, allowing providers to cut down on overhead costs. In turn, patients no longer have to spend money on traveling, childcare, parking, and taking time off work. Delivering healthcare services remotely is a financial win-win for everyone involved.

What are the benefits of telehealth systems & technology?
Future trends of telehealth

Future trends of telehealth

Telehealth technology is facilitating a stronger, more meaningful, and personalized form of healthcare. The industry is growing exponentially and is predicted to reach over $397 billion by 2027. Such rapid growth can seem overwhelming, but when you think of the advantages that telehealth technology poses for both patients and physicians, this is a remarkably positive change. If you are interested in implementing telehealth technology into your healthcare business, one of the most important features you should look for is integration. Different forms of technology are specialized for certain areas of telehealth, but the best types of software have incorporated all of these into a single platform. For example, Carepatron offers a single secure platform where all of your data and information is unified into the same place. This means that you can access video conferencing software, appointment scheduling, medical billing, clinical documentation, and online payments from a single platform, streamlining all aspects of your business and allowing for a more unified workflow. Even better, Carepatron takes yours and your clients’ privacy seriously, and by aligning with HIPAA guidelines, guarantees that all of the data within the platform is reliably safe. 

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