Table of Contents
Table of Contents
The COVID-19 pandemic forced healthcare providers to quickly adopt and rely on digital health tools to consult with and care for patients. This led to significant changes in healthcare, with telehealth technology emerging as a crucial tool for delivering medical services remotely.
Innovations in at-home, clinic, and hospital diagnostic equipment have enhanced the ability of healthcare providers to deliver care virtually. As a result of these changes, healthcare is unlikely to return to its pre-pandemic state. Telehealth technology and digital health tools will continue to play an important role in delivering accessible, convenient, and efficient healthcare.
This article aims to provide a comprehensive understanding of telehealth technology, including its various types, key features to consider when selecting telehealth technology, and the benefits it offers.
What is Telehealth Technology?
Telehealth technology refers to a collection of digital tools and technologies that enable healthcare providers to deliver medical services remotely. Telehealth includes a range of practical implementations, such as video conferencing, remote monitoring, and mobile health apps, that allow patients and healthcare providers to communicate and share information using devices like smartphones, tablets, and computers.
Telehealth technology can be used for a variety of medical services, including diagnosing illnesses, managing chronic conditions, and prescribing medication. It’s particularly useful for patients who live in remote or underserved areas, or for patients who have difficulty traveling to see their healthcare provider in person.
Asynchronous vs. Synchronous Telehealth
The tools or features within telehealth can be categorized into asynchronous and synchronous telehealth.
Asynchronous telehealth is like sending an email – you write a message, and the other person reads and responds later. This kind of communication is useful for a wide variety of medical fields, like dermatology, radiology, orthopedics, ophthalmology, and cosmetic surgery.
Synchronous telehealth happens in real-time, like a video call. This is great for having a conversation with your healthcare provider and discussing your care and condition in-depth. It’s like a virtual doctor’s appointment!
Both types of telehealth have their advantages, and the right one for a specific patient will depend on their unique situation and medical needs. Whether they are using asynchronous or synchronous telehealth, the goal is the same: to make it easier and more convenient to administer medical care.
What are the Main Types of Telehealth Technologies?
There are several main types of telehealth technologies that healthcare providers use to deliver medical services remotely. Some telehealth technology examples include:
Used extensively during the Covid-19 pandemic as a precautionary measure to eliminate the risk of infection, virtual consultations have become more common. This technology allows doctors and other healthcare providers to conduct consultations and check-ins with patients remotely.
Efficient telehealth platforms facilitate a synchronous experience, with the patient and the provider engaging in a live discussion over video or voice.
Further to providing the bare necessities of a microphone, camera controls, or screen sharing, telehealth platforms also provide these features:
- A waiting room for participants before being admitted to the call
- The option to invite a third party to join the video call
- An audio-only session or the opportunity to allow users to dial in
- A function that records sessions, with secure storage and downloading of recordings
Remote Patient Monitoring (RPM)
Remote Patient Monitoring (RPM) involves capturing patient data at one location and transmitting it electronically to healthcare professionals at a different location for review and treatment decisions.
This technology utilizes wearable sensors and other medical devices to monitor patients’ health and vital signs, enabling healthcare providers to remotely manage conditions such as diabetes, heart disease, renal disorders, and sleep disorders.
RPM is particularly useful for chronic conditions such as diabetes and hypertension, as patients can use medical devices such as glucose meters to communicate data to health practitioners and take control of their health to prevent complications.
Remote patient monitoring typically involves utilizing the Internet of Medical Things (IoMT), which is a collection of medical devices and applications that connect to healthcare information technology systems through online computer networks.
Examples of the IoMT include the following:
- Using remote patient monitoring (RPM) to monitor people with chronic diseases and long-term conditions
- Tracking patient medication orders
- Tracking the location of patients admitted to hospitals
- Collecting data from patients’ wearable mobile health devices
- Connecting ambulances on their way to medical facilities with healthcare professionals
Store and forward telehealth refers to the electronic transmission of a patient’s health history and clinical data, such as lab reports, MRI scans, images of skin lesions, or X-ray images, to healthcare providers for review and analysis at a later time. It’s particularly useful in fields such as radiology and dermatology.
Store and forward telemedicine software involves sharing patient data through a HIPAA-compliant platform, to be reviewed later, without any interaction with the patients in real time.
Some examples of store-and-forward telehealth technologies include:
Teleorthodontics is a type of telehealth service that allows orthodontic treatment to be delivered remotely through the use of digital orthodontic technology. This includes the use of virtual consultations, remote monitoring of treatment progress, and the use of aligners that can be shipped directly to the patient’s home.
Through teleorthodontics, patients can receive orthodontic treatment from the comfort of their own homes, without the need for in-person visits to the orthodontist.
Images of skin lesions are sent to a dermatologist who can then view, diagnose, and remotely prescribe a treatment plan. Mole-mapping and skin lesion images can be sent out for the detection of skin cancer and images can be monitored over time to see if there are any changes in the patient’s condition.
Mobile health (mHealth) refers to the generation, accumulation, and exchange of medical information through mobile and wireless tools.
Mobile health includes apps that patients can use to track and manage their health data, receive medication reminders, and access personalized health advice and education. Mobile health apps can help patients take a more active role in their own healthcare.
Point-of-care diagnostics refers to medical diagnostic tests that can be performed at or near the location where the patient is being treated, such as a doctor’s office, ambulance, home, or hospital.
With point-of-care testing, healthcare providers can quickly and easily diagnose and treat patients without having to wait for lab results to come back from a central laboratory. This can lead to more timely and efficient care for patients, as well as faster treatment decisions by healthcare professionals.
Mobile Medication Management
Mobile medication management is an element of telehealth platforms which provides organizations and clinicians (including physicians and pharmacists) with a comprehensive view of a patient’s medication history, reducing medication errors and improving medication adherence following their encounter with the patient.
Medical imaging software is used to diagnose, monitor, and treat various diseases and medical conditions. Medical Imaging is one of the most exciting and emerging applications for mHealth and telehealth platforms.
Just as Smartphone technology has seen substantial advancement and enhancement in recent years (consider image quality, camera capabilities, speed, and the transfer of data) telehealth technology companies are working to take advantage of the more powerful devices to transform medical imaging.
All of these telehealth technologies have the potential to make healthcare more accessible, convenient, and efficient for patients and healthcare providers.
Telehealth technology has revolutionized the way healthcare services are delivered and accessed, enabling patients to receive medical care and support from the comfort of their own homes. In addition to home settings, telehealth technologies are being increasingly used in clinics and hospitals to deliver medical care and support to patients.
Each environment presents unique opportunities and challenges, but all aim to improve the quality and accessibility of healthcare services.
Examples of telehealth technology in the
Telehealth technology is becoming increasingly common in the home setting, enabling patients to receive medical care and support from the comfort of their own homes. Some practical implementations of telehealth in a home environment include:
Remote patient monitoring technology allows patients to be monitored and tracked from their homes using wearable devices or other sensors.
Video consultations allow patients to connect with their healthcare provider remotely using video conferencing technology.
Mobile health apps can be used to track and monitor health data, manage medications, and provide personalized health advice and education.
Telehealth technology examples in clinics
Telehealth technology is being used more frequently in clinics and other healthcare facilities to deliver medical care and support to patients. Some practical implementations of telehealth in a clinic environment include:
Remote monitoring technology is in clinics to track patients’ health data and vital signs, enabling healthcare providers to detect and respond to health issues more quickly.
Digital health records enable healthcare providers to access and update patient records remotely, ensuring that all medical information is up-to-date and easily accessible.
Using E-prescribing technology healthcare providers prescribe medications electronically – sending prescriptions directly to pharmacies, reducing the risk of errors and improving efficiency.
Clinics use telehealth technology to provide patients with education and support through virtual health coaching or online resources.
Examples of telehealth technology in
Telemedicine software can be used in hospitals to remotely connect patients with healthcare providers. Some practical implementations of telehealth in a hospital environment include:
Remote monitoring technology is used in hospitals to track patients’ health data and vital signs, enabling healthcare providers to detect and respond to health issues before they reach a critical level.
Tele-ICU technology allows critical care specialists to remotely monitor and support critically ill patients in the intensive care unit (ICU), improving patient outcomes and reducing the need for on-site staff.
Through technology, specialists can do virtual hospital consultations. For example, Telestroke technology enables stroke specialists to provide virtual consultations and support to hospitals that may not have the necessary resources or expertise to treat stroke patients.
Benefits of telehealth technology
Telehealth technology has the potential to revolutionize healthcare delivery by improving access, increasing efficiency, and enhancing the quality of care and patient outcomes. By making effective use of telehealth technology, healthcare providers can provide better care to their patients, even in challenging circumstances.
Telehealth technology presents numerous benefits for both patients and healthcare providers:
Increased access to healthcare
Through the use of telehealth technology patients have easier access to healthcare services, reducing the need for travel and making healthcare more accessible to individuals who live in remote areas or have mobility issues.
Minimizing wait times and administrative tasks, and enabling healthcare providers to see more patients in less time makes telehealth technology a beneficial option to optimize efficiency.
By eliminating the need for travel and reducing the need for expensive medical equipment, telehealth technology becomes a cost-saving benefit.
Patients are enabled to better manage their health conditions, leading to improved health outcomes and quality of life.
Increased patient engagement
Patients become more engaged in their own healthcare by tracking their health metrics, communicating with healthcare providers, and receiving support and guidance when needed.
Improved collaboration among healthcare providers
Healthcare providers can collaborate more effectively, by sharing patient data, consulting with specialists, and coordinating care across different healthcare settings.
Challenges of Telehealth
Although telehealth technology has many benefits, there are also some challenges that need to be addressed. Some of these challenges include:
Each environment presents unique opportunities and challenges, but all aim to improve the quality and accessibility of healthcare services.
One of the main challenges of telehealth technology is ensuring that patients and healthcare providers have access to the necessary technology and infrastructure. This includes reliable internet connectivity, secure data transfer, and user-friendly software and devices. Some families or caregivers may not have computers, laptops, tablets, or smartphones or have access to the Internet.
Regulatory and Reimbursement Barriers
Telehealth faces various regulatory and reimbursement requirements that vary by country, leading to financial barriers for healthcare providers trying to implement and sustain telehealth programs.
To navigate this, practitioners should adopt an “over-documenting” attitude during patient visits, including details on objectives, assessments, virtual examinations, and evaluations. Documentation should also reflect patient consent for non-privacy-protected technology, and non-compliance by patients should be well-documented to avoid liability.
Privacy and Security Concerns
Telehealth technology involves the transmission and storage of sensitive patient health information, which raises concerns about privacy and security. Ensuring that telehealth systems are secure and compliant with Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) privacy regulations is essential.
HIPAA is a privacy rule that establishes national standards to protect patients’ medical records and any patient health information (PHI).
Patient and Provider Acceptance
Telehealth technology requires patients and healthcare providers to adapt to new modes of care delivery, which can be challenging.
Ensuring that patients and providers are comfortable with telehealth technology and understand its benefits is essential. Knowledge starts with education and support and should involve continuous communication to maintain your patients’ knowledge and keep them up-to-date with upgrades.
Misdiagnosis from Technology
No matter how skilled and knowledgeable healthcare professionals are, medical mishaps and unintentional mistakes due to negligence or human error may happen. The same applies to telemedicine. Technology failures are possible since remote healthcare delivery significantly depends on telecommunications and the internet.
Despite these challenges, the future of telehealth technology looks bright. As the healthcare industry continues to shift towards value-based care and remote care delivery, telehealth technology is expected to play an increasingly important role.
Advancements in technology, such as artificial intelligence and virtual reality, are also likely to enhance the capabilities of telehealth and expand its applications. Increased patient and provider acceptance of telehealth is likely to drive its adoption and integration into standard care delivery models.
Telehealth Technology FAQs
What is the difference between telehealth and telemedicine?
Many people struggle to understand the difference between telehealth and telemedicine. Telehealth is a term used to describe a range of technologies and services used to provide healthcare and services at a distance using healthcare technology. Telemedicine is a type of telehealth that specifically focuses on healthcare providers examining, observing, and treating patients remotely.
In other words, telemedicine is a part of telehealth that involves using technology to provide medical care and treatment from a distance, such as virtual visits or specialist consultations.
What are the key features of telehealth technology platforms?
Telehealth technology platforms can have a variety of features, but some key features to look for include:
Secure video conferencing: Telehealth platforms should have secure video conferencing capabilities that allow for real-time communication between patients and healthcare providers.
Remote patient monitoring:
Platforms may offer remote patient monitoring capabilities, such as the ability to track patients’ vital signs, symptoms, and medication adherence remotely through wearable devices or other sensors.
Electronic health records:
Telehealth platforms may include electronic health record (EHR) systems that allow healthcare providers to access and update patient information remotely.
Integration with third-party systems:
Telehealth platforms may integrate with other healthcare systems, such as pharmacy systems, laboratory systems, and billing systems, to streamline workflows and improve efficiency.
Some platforms may have mobile apps that allow patients to access telehealth services from their smartphones or tablets.
Analytics and reporting:
Telehealth platforms may offer analytics and reporting features that allow healthcare providers to track patient outcomes, monitor service utilization, and identify areas for improvement.
Compliance and security:
Telehealth platforms should comply with healthcare regulations and standards, such as HIPAA, and have security measures in place to protect patient data and privacy.
How does one choose a Telehealth Company?
Choosing a telehealth company can be a daunting task. Here are some factors to consider:
Consider the compatibility of the telehealth platform with your current technology and electronic medical records (EMR) system. Make sure that the telehealth company you choose can integrate with your existing systems.
The telehealth platform should be user-friendly for both you and your patients. Look for a platform that is easy to use and navigate, and provides a smooth and streamlined experience for all users.
Look for a telehealth platform that offers the features that you need, such as video conferencing, messaging, virtual waiting rooms, and appointment scheduling.
Security and compliance:
The telehealth platform should comply with relevant healthcare privacy laws, such as HIPAA. Ensure that the platform is secure and has appropriate measures in place to protect patient data.
Choose a company that offers excellent customer support. Consider the quality of support offered, such as availability, response time, and expertise.
Consider the cost of the platform and whether it fits within your budget. Some telehealth companies offer different pricing tiers with varying features.
Look for a software company with a good reputation in the industry. Consider reading reviews and ratings from other healthcare providers to get a sense of the company’s reputation.
Overall, choosing a telehealth company involves evaluating your needs and priorities, considering your budget, and researching different options to find the platform that best meets your requirements.
How will I know which telemedicine software is the right fit for my practice?
When investing in telemedicine software, it is important to ensure that the platform works as a natural extension of your health organization. This makes the transition for both staff and patients a lot easier and probably would see better adoption and engagement. The bottom line is, do not settle. Find a telehealth technology provider who will customize a platform to suit your requirements.
Scopic provides custom software development services to create tailored telehealth applications and platforms that meet the unique needs of healthcare organizations and their patients.
What are the Telehealth Solutions provided by Scopic?
Our dedicated team specializes in developing high-quality telehealth technology software, EHR, and medical imaging solutions tailored to suit the specific needs of telehealth practitioners, all at an affordable price.
Contact us to find out more about how our software development and marketing team can help you.
About Creating This Telehealth Technology GUIDE
Scopic provides quality and informative content, powered by our deep-rooted expertise in software development. Our team of content writers and experts have great knowledge in the latest software technologies, allowing them to break down even the most complex topics in the field. They also know how to tackle topics from a wide range of industries, capture their essence, and deliver valuable content across all digital platforms.