At Telemedy.co, we receive many inquiries from healthcare professionals around the world about suitable platforms to start a Telehealth practice. Often, the practice is a small group of clinicians with a limited budget and their requirements include an electronic health record system (EHR), an online booking system and a virtual consultation platform.
There are many factors to consider, which have been highlighted in many Telemedy articles, but as a minimum, a solution should satisfy the following requirements:
Efficient, easy to use website for practice and patient information and online booking
Bespoke EHR app attached to a secure database
Secure virtual consultation platform integrated with the booking system and calendar
And Yes!, you can do it yourself!
For a small practice (1 to 10 members of staff) that is just launching their Telehealth service and where financial resources are limited, the following setup (as a practical example) would be suitable to get started effectively and quickly on a budget.
Build your own website (or hire a developer) using a low-code platform like WiX, SquareSpace, GoDaddy or Wordpress. This website should provide information about your practice and has online booking, calendar and payment functions, all incorporated into a mobile-friendly responsive design. Staff profiles and availability should be kept up to date to make the booking process smooth and efficient.
There are many solutions for EHR that are available off-the-shelf with minimal customisation, a simple Google search will return in many results. However, you could also develop your own EHR system by building a Microsoft Access front end app and store patient data into a HIPPA/GDPR compliant and secure back end database like SharePoint, Azure or similar servers. Bear in mind that those servers will require a paid subscription which is often affordable for a small practice.
Virtual consultation platform
Most healthcare professionals (and possibly every human being!) are familiar with platforms like Microsoft Teams and Zoom. Those platforms can be integrated into booking services and calendars seamlessly with many options for automation and security features that make them compliant with most regulatory authorities (Zoom has become HIPAA compliant since October 2020 when end-to-end encryption was added as standard feature in the client app (including the free subscription), provided that a business associate agreement (BAA) is also in place).
Summary of a practical plan
Develop a website in WiX
Add booking services and calendar
Connect Zoom account to WiX bookings
Subscribe to Microsoft 365 and add a paid subscription for SharePoint
Develop a front end app in Microsoft Access and connect to a backend SharePoint list
Although the above setup is both practical and affordable, there are limitations, including:
Lack of direct EHR and virtual consultation integration
Operating more than one system
Need for app installation on the patient’s side (Zoom)
Limited functionalities, unlike established and market leading platforms that offer much more
If you have more information or advice relating to starting up your Telehealth practice, regulation, indemnity and training, go to Telemedy.co, contact us via the contact page or email email@example.com