#Telemedicine and #Telehealth software generally fall into two categories; Off -the-shelf platforms (with minimal customisation) and bespoke solutions developed based on user specifications. Whatever your choice would be, you need to consider few important aspects of the platform to make sure it fits with your current workflow.
Appointments and scheduling
An online live calendar is essential in facilitating a smooth and efficient booking system. Patients need instant confirmation of the time and date rather than waiting for the practice administrator to contact them “later” with a confirmation, or unavailability of the clinician. Your system should also be able to inform the clinician instantly that an appointment has been confirmed. Most software developers could build this feature into your platform. Also, some online calendar solutions can be “plugged in” easily without the need to code.
Your user interface, or dashboard, should be intuitive and contain access to the features you need with simple clicks. It might seem obvious, but it is often overlooked. Preferably integrated with your electronic healthcare records system with access to necessary clinical investigations like radiology and lab results. It is vital that you trial an off-the-shelf platform or get involved in the design stage of a bespoke one. You should also provide adequate training for your practice staff and colleagues and get their feedback.
This is a must. The good news is that most telemedicine platforms, including some free ones, provide high level security features. This is not just for video and audio feeds, but also for document sharing with your patients.
A high definition video stream should not be something you compromise on. This also involves having a high speed internet connection on both sides, bear in mind that any two-way stream is as fast as the slowest connection, so it is important that you advise your patients to log on to the consultation from a device with high speed internet for the best possible experience. Think of the limitations to a video consultation where, for example, a dermatologist can’t visualise a skin lesion or a musculoskeletal doctor can’t assess joint movements and perform clinical tests due to a slow connection.
Long or unlimited online sessions
Your platform should allow sufficient time for each session. Some platforms only provide short sessions in their basic subscription which could compromise the consultation and patient experience,
Similar to the concept of online calendar, your platform should allow for online secure payments at the time of booking. Most online payment vendors provide solutions that can be incorporated easily into your platform.
Data is everything! It sounds cliché but it is true. Collecting information about your telemedicine activity is vital for future planning and growth. Your platform should provide you with live analytics in a detailed report and easy to visualise charts. Many cloud services can also provide insights from artificial intelligence code that can scan your data.
You will need to make sure that your platform developer can provide support for troubleshooting and have an alternative system in place that can be deployed if your platform malfunctions. You could always revert to a basic video streaming solution provided that it complies with data protection regulations in your country.