A wide range of activities can be completed from the comfort and convenience of home–and with recent advances in technology, that includes attending medical appointments. According to the CDC, 37% of adults across America have used telehealth services within the past 12 months. Highly educated adults are more likely, the CDC notes, to use telehealth services, as are older adults. Adults in urban areas are also more likely to use those vital services.
As a result, many healthcare organizations find that offering telehealth solutions is a critical part of providing a high standard of quality for their patients and improving overall patient outcomes.
The Importance of Telehealth: Outcomes and Accessibility
Telehealth services make it easier for a wide range of people to access the care and services they need. Many people may not have access to in-person clinics, or may feel uncomfortable going in to those locations in person for a variety of reasons. Utilizing telehealth can improve accessibility for:
- Low-income populations: telehealth may prove more affordable, which can encourage them to seek treatment
- Individuals with mobility or transportation issues
- Individuals with busy schedules, who may not be able to make time for in-person appointments
- Patients who have concerns about going to an office in person for any reason, including medical fragility
Effective telehealth services can also go a long way toward improving patient outcomes. Patients utilizing telehealth services may be able to connect more frequently with their providers, or may be more likely to seek treatment than a patient who has to wait for an appointment.
Key Telehealth Technologies
When developing telehealth technologies, there are a number of key options that app creators and healthcare providers must keep in mind.
- Video conferencing: Virtual connection makes it easier for patients to connect with healthcare providers from a distance.
- Remote monitoring: With remote monitoring options, care providers can keep up with changes in patients’ conditions or needs.
- Mobile applications: Many people prefer to use their mobile devices for a variety of purposes and services, including telehealth, so mobile functionality is key.
As part of telehealth app creation, it’s important to ensure that the app includes those key technologies.
Must-Have Features in Telemedicine Software
As part of the telehealth software solutions healthcare organizations provide to their clients, there are several critical features that both patients and providers are looking for.
- Direct payment options
- Appointment booking
- Emergency health consultations
- Medication trackers
- Chat options
With these apps in place, many care providers find that they are in the ideal position to help their clients receive the quality of care they need and deserve, even from a distance.
The Top Benefits of Telehealth
Telehealth offers a number of key benefits. First and foremost, it improves patient access. Not only can patients make it to appointments more easily, they may have more scheduling options that will allow them to consult with a care provider at otherwise inconvenient or inaccessible times. Furthermore, telehealth removes physical barriers, including distance and transportation challenges, that could make it difficult for patients to get to the office.
Next, telehealth often leads to reduced healthcare costs. Virtual appointments typically cost providers less than in-person appointments. They can then pass those savings on to their clients.
Finally, telehealth often leads to considerably enhanced patient engagement. Patients are more likely to make telehealth appointments with their providers, even when they may not be willing to make in-person appointments.
The Challenges in Building Scalable Software Solutions for Telehealth
Many medical care providers struggle with challenges that can make it more difficult to develop scalable solutions.
- Workforce shortages may make it more difficult to develop robust solutions that fit patient care needs.
- Demand forecasting can prove difficult in telehealth, since some times may see much higher demand than others.
- Each state has unique medical licensing requirements, and telehealth providers must meet those requirements.
- Patients and providers must adopt new apps and utilize the tools provided.
By working with an experienced provider who has experience with telehealth software solutions, however, providers can often overcome those challenges and build more robust solutions that fit the needs of their clients.
Developing Telehealth Software
Developing telemedicine software solutions can prove difficult. Telemedicine applications for healthcare require specific strategies and knowledge, so working with a software developer with experience developing telehealth platforms is essential.
- Plan your telehealth platform project. Get to know the different types of telehealth platforms and consider what type of project you need.
- Choose a software developer who can help you create an effective telehealth app and who will guide you through the process.
- Explore user needs. Evaluate your local community and what benefits they need from a telehealth solution.
- Create a user interface prototype that will allow you to consider how users will interact with the platform.
- Allow your software developer to develop your product.
- Test the product. Get to know how patients actually interact with your system and consider any changes you may need to make.
- Maintain your system and make changes as needed. Make sure your telehealth app continues to deliver the high standard your patients expect.
Working with an experienced IT healthcare consulting firm can offer deeper insight into your telemedicine platform, the needs of your community, and how you can ensure effective app development.
How Much Does It Cost to Build Telemedicine Software?
The cost to build telehealth software may depend on the features you want to add, the size of your app or system, and your maintenance requirements. Prices range from as little as $40,000 to as much as $200,000 or more.
Start Building Your Telehealth App
Using an effective telehealth system for your healthcare organization can improve patient outcomes and decrease overall costs, both for you and your patients. Furthermore, the improved accessibility granted by your telehealth app can make it easier for you to get patients in and monitor their conditions. Contact us today to learn more about our healthcare IT solutions.