The Future of Telemedicine: What’s in It for Me?

In Part 1 of our telemedicine blog series, we explored the importance and relevance of telemedicine both now and for the future of digital healthcare software. In Part 2, we take a deeper dive into telemedicine benefits from both a doctor’s and a patient’s perspective.

In the previous blog, we looked at the reasons behind possible resistance to the wide-spread uptake of telemedicine, and significance that COVID-19 has since played in normalizing virtual doctor’s appointments, provided a digital healthcare software application can guarantee cloud data security and meet HIPAA regulatory compliances. It’s fair to say that pre-COVID, a quick chat with your doctor might be handled with a telephone call, which is also classed as telemedicine. However, anything more than a quick chat, for example to confirm a diagnosis prior to a referral, would still have required a face-to-face appointment, emphasizing the need for actually seeing the patient.

Now that audio-visual telemedicine has become accepted practice, with the right solution, online doctor consultations will offer many benefits over and above convenience and reduce the spread of infections. The following illustrates the benefits for patients and healthcare providers using the SourceFuse telemedicine software application,

What Telemedicine Can Do for Patients

  • Psychological reassurance of actually seeing the doctor: Providing a virtual environment that gets as close as possible to a physical appointment.
  • Improved access to patient care: Makes it much easier for patients who are elderly, disabled or geographically isolated to consult doctors online. 
  • Stable connection: Since is built using AWS services focused on healthcare such as AWS Comprehend Medical, the connectivity between patients and their doctors is assured, removing technological barriers outside the patient’s control, such as bandwidth specifications. 
  • Online booking system: Patients can easily view the doctor’s availability and book a slot at a time to suit themselves.
  • Share medical history: Patients are able to attach any medical history notes during an online appointment, eliminating hospital waiting times or waiting for access requests to be processed.
  • Touch-free prescription processing: If the online doctor consultation results in a prescription, the doctor can process it straight to the e-pharmacy module, and the prescription will be delivered without the patient having to do anything or go anywhere.
  • All billing information tracked: The what, who and how of every medical interaction, appointment, referral, prescription, etc. is captured in one digital healthcare software application for easy insurance claims.

What Telemedicine Can Do for Doctors

  • Confidence of delivering the best possible patient care: Just as patients want the reassurance that comes when they get to consult doctors online, the same is true for doctors in avoiding the potential risk of incorrect diagnoses.
  • Integration with EMR / EHR: Using an open architecture application means video engagement becomes a much more focused and improved experience, with the ability to view full medical history during the virtual appointment.
  • Robust healthcare data security: Built on the AWS HIPAA Compliance Program, provides 100% healthcare data security on the cloud and meets HIPAA regulatory compliance, keeping personally identifiable health records safe and secure.
  • Customizable user-interface: Depending on how each doctor likes to work, the application can be customized to suit their needs and enhance their healthcare provision.
  • Real-time clinical decision support: Using AWS Machine Learning Services, patient evaluation, diagnosis and treatment is faster and much improved, resulting in better patient outcomes.
  • Real-time messaging with language translation support: Once a patient has booked a doctor’s appointment, they can start to interact through the application in their preferred language. 
  • Cost-savings: Increased use of digital healthcare software can help to reduce overheads, for example requiring less front-desk support or reducing the number of consultation rooms.
  • Efficiency gains: Doctors can swiftly move from one virtual appointment to the next, without losing time between patients moving to a different consultation room, or different building, allowing them to provide personalized care to more patients.

Telemedicine in Action: Example Scenarios 

Scenario 1:

Patient AB is experiencing anxiety issues which are worsening, and has summoned up the courage to visit their doctor to talk about it. Unfortunately, AB is shielding to protect an elderly relative, and the thought of going physically to the doctor’s office, with potential delays in a waiting room surrounded by others, is increasing their anxiety further. With the promise of a call-back, as the doctor works through a long list of patients they keep missing AB on the phone and loses valuable time with several attempts to call back.

 Telemedicine alternative:

  • For the patient: AB books a slot at a day/time to suit through the telemedicine software application, and at the appointed time has a virtual face-to-face appointment with their doctor. AB and the doctor discuss the best course of treatment, and the doctor prescribes a short course of medication; in addition, they agree to a follow-up in one week. The prescription is sent directly to AB via the app, AB selects the “Pay Now” option, and the medication arrives at their door two days later. For each and every activity, all details are automatically logged so that AB can claim back through their insurance.
  • For the doctor: As they finish one appointment, the doctor can swiftly move on to the next, since their daily schedule is maximized through the telemedicine booking module. During the virtual face-to-face appointment with AB, the doctor gets a good understanding of the seriousness of AB’s anxiety, by witnessing first-hand their body language and facial expressions, which would otherwise have been missed over the phone. While talking, the doctor takes a look at AB’s past history on the EHR system, and prescribes a particular medication. The AI CDSS module immediately sends a message to say AB is allergic to one of the active ingredients, and the doctor can confidently switch to a safer alternative. The following week, the doctor sends a direct message through the ‘chat’ function to check on progress, and sends an invite for their next audio-visual appointment.

 Scenario 2:

Patient XY is on long-term beta-blockers and needs a routine health-check every six months. This involves a visit to their GP, who books a hospital referral for the blood test and waits for the results, before inviting XY back to the doctor’s office to discuss. Unfortunately, XY doesn’t have their own transport and relies on their son being available for these three journeys, plus a fourth trip to collect the prescription. 

 Telemedicine alternative:

  • For the patient: Through the app, XY receives an invitation to attend the hospital department to have their blood taken, with the option to reschedule if their son is not available on that day. A week after their blood tests, XY receives an invitation for a virtual face-to-face with their GP. During the audio-visual appointment, the doctor confirms the blood results are normal and XY describes they have had no side-effects or symptoms since their last appointment. The doctor repeats XY’s prescription for a further six months, sends it directly to XY via the app, XY selects the “Pay Now” option, and the medication arrives at their door two days later. XY has all the details for each visit in the one application, in order to make a claim with their health insurer.
  • For the doctor: The doctor receives a reminder XY is due their six-monthly check-up and books the blood test referral via the telemedicine software system. The doctor can look up the results through the EHR system and send an audio-visual appointment invite directly to XY. During XY’s online doctor consultation appointment, the doctor can refer back to XY’s full medication history, is confident that the medication is suiting XY well, and prescribes a further six-month course. Every 2-3 months, the doctor sends XY a direct message through the ‘chat’ function to confirm everything is OK and that XY is not experiencing any further symptoms that may require an additional follow-up.

For further details about SourceFuse’s Telemedicine Software Solutions that are redefining the Healthcare Industry digitally, contact us below.