Even before the globla health crisis, some health practitioners are already offering teleconsult and telehealth services. This allows those who cannot physically go to clinics and hospitals to seek a professional opinion about their medical conditions. If you have ever tried to consult with a doctor from abroad, you know that teleconsult is an excellent alternative to face-to-face consultations.
But the telehealth industry boomed in the past year. As the pandemic made pulp out of economies and scared the hell out of medical practitioners and the general public, telemedicine is once more front and center of the alternative solutions to providing critical medical care. But whether as a patient or as a medical practitioner, you would have noticed that some telemedicine platforms are better than others. What makes these platforms better? What are the features that separate them from the rest?
Table of Contents
1. Support for Low Bandwidth and Slow Connections
It is normal for telehealth companies to assume that all patients will have strong enough internet connections, but this is far from the truth. Good ones will understand that the concept of a strong internet connection varies from place to place. The fact is that medical offices and hospitals are infamous for having sluggish internet connections. What happens when the internet signal is poor? It will affect the consultation because doctors and patients will not hear each other. Your platform should work even under a network connection that is less than optimal.
2. Audioconferencing and Videoconferencing
Yes, some telehealth platforms used only messaging apps. The problem here is that doctors will have a harder time diagnosing a condition that they need a visual of. In a survey, 94% of the respondents said that audio and video are critical for telehealth services. With videos, the doctors can visually interpret the condition of the patients, and they can take note of any changes in their voice (if they are, for example, complaining of conditions that might affect their throat, mouth, etc.).
3. Support for All Devices
Most telehealth services can only 100% work on laptops and desktop computers. However, a large chunk of the population does not have laptops by their side always. The teleconsult platform should support the use of tablets and smartphones. Even at a basic level, the platform should work with ordinary smartphones.
4. Clinical Documentation
The software that supports the telemedicine platform should generate reports and document transcripts, logs, and prescriptions. This is critical for both medical practitioners and patients. These documents will also help doctors make necessary medical interventions for old patients. Migrating the patients’ manual records is a time-consuming process, but it is one of the most important things to do before doctors begin offering telemedicine consultation.
5. Remote Scheduling and Appointments
The pandemic showcased the need for medical teleconsult, but it also highlighted the demand for patient bookings and how difficult they can be. The ability to plan and schedule appointments became critical during the pandemic. Telemedicine platforms that do not offer remote booking and scheduling will suffer from the logistical nightmare of managing doctors and patients. The majority of the respondents in a survey also said that scheduling must be the main feature of a telehealth platform.
6. EHR Integration
The telemedicine platform should integrate with the electronic health records (EHR) since this will make your staff more efficient. It will also reduce medical errors as medical practitioners can share records and histories with other clinicians. The patients will benefit from this integration as medical practitioners can provide better health care.
7. Doctors’ Profiles
The patient will want to see the profiles of the doctors they will consult. The profiles should have basic information such as the expertise of the doctors and their experiences. This will allow the patients to be at ease with their choice of doctor. A bit of information will not hurt, and it is not against the law. Patients have the right to get to know their doctors more before the consultation begins.
8. Payment Gateway
Do not make paying for your services hard for the patients. Make sure that there is a secure payment gateway so your patients can pay for your services. Even if they have insurance, the out-of-pocket costs should be easy for them to settle. Your payment gateway should accept major debit and credit cards so that you will not discriminate against anyone who wants to consult with you.
In the next few years, these telemedicine platforms will mushroom and grow. These features are not the only ones that patients will look for in an app or platform. There will be more in terms of managing appointments, push notifications, and ratings and reviews. But in so far as offering the most basic features in telemedicine, convenience is at the top of the game. You should invest in anything that will make the process convenient for your patients.