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TeleMedicine: Advantages, Prospects, and Existing IT Solutions

Byadmin

Aug 13, 2021

Nowadays, TeleMedicine is more necessary than ever. Social distancing, the transformation of the usual offline clinical processes into online procedures, and increased attention to health issues all contribute to the expansion and rapid growth of this area. Below, we will tell you not only about the advantages of TeleMedicine but also about its disadvantages and trending IT solutions.

TeleMedicine before and now

TeleMedicine is a group of technologies that are used for the remote monitoring of patients’ health and for control over their treatment. For this purpose, telecommunication solutions and devices that allow for the exchange of medical information are used. TeleMedicine can also include remote patient monitoring devices for reading a patient’s vital signs and sending them to healthcare professionals.

TeleMedicine emerged with the proliferation of telecommunications. As early as 1879, an article in the famous medical journal The Lancet raised questions about how the use of telephone communication could help to reduce the number of patient encounters regarding minor health concerns. In 1948, healthcare workers from two different treatment centers in Pennsylvania were able to send each other radiological images of patients’ organs via telephone for the first time.

Today, TeleMedicine has become widely practiced. In 2020, the TeleMedicine market was estimated to be $60 billion, and experts predict it will grow to $72.7 billion by 2021.

Now, let’s discuss the benefits of TeleMedicine for patients, medical institutions, and healthcare software companies.

Benefits for patients

  1. Saving time and money – an online consultation is cheaper than a physical visit to the doctor; plus, patients don’t have to wait in queues.
  1. Accessibility of specialists – getting an appointment with a highly specialized doctor at a patient’s local medical institution may be difficult. TeleMedicine gives access to consultations by specialists from anywhere in the world. This feature is also particularly useful for second opinion purposes.
  1. Safety – remote patient monitoring mitigates the risk of contact with other patients and potential transmission of viruses and other pathogens.
  1. Accessibility for people with disabilities when the appropriate teleconsultation system is used.
  1. A possibility to quickly consult with a physician in case of emergency.

Benefits for medical institutions

  1. Increased quality of services – online patient management allows healthcare providers to have more robust contact with patients and eventually a more complete picture of their health status. The possibility to make treatment adjustments promptly also contributes to better long-term care management and patient satisfaction.
  1. Spending cuts – the flow of patients entering the facility reduces, and this diminishes the burden on the administrative staff.
  1. Exchange of experience – the capacity of TeleMedicine makes it possible to involve specialists from anywhere in the world in establishing diagnoses and providing better care.
  1. Learning opportunities – students gain valuable experience and improve their skills even in remote learning conditions.
  1. Safety – limited contact of doctors with patients in the case of a pandemic.

Benefits for software companies

  1. Constant development and innovation – companies offering healthcare software development services remain competitive. There are many examples of how breakthrough technologies from other fields have been successfully applied in TeleMedicine. In Canada, game development programmers offered healthcare providers a solution with Augmented Reality, which is now widely used in large teaching hospitals in the country for diagnostic and teaching purposes.
  2. The possibility to get support from the government – some governments provide special grants for companies developing TeleMedicine solutions.
  3. Social responsibility – by developing solutions for the medical sector, companies increase access to healthcare and contribute to public health, which positively affects their reputation.

Prospects and obstacles for TeleMedicine advancement

Along with the active development of this area, there are several challenges:

  • insufficient coverage of healthcare legislation in some countries,
  • issues of patient data security and access to data,
  • relatively high costs at the stage of implementation when an advanced TeleMedicine system is used,
  • lack of confidence in TeleMedicine possibilities in patients and healthcare professionals.

IT solutions for TeleMedicine

Remote monitoring programs are used in dermatology, among other areas. For example, the iDoc24 app helps doctors diagnose skin diseases remotely. To get a consultation from a dermatologist, you only need to take a photo of an area of skin and upload it to the application.

Another example of a TeleMedicine software solution is American Well (mobile and desktop). Using the application, a patient can have an online appointment with a doctor and get the necessary recommendations.

JetDoc is a TeleMedicine application that launched in 2019. The distinguishing feature of this solution is heightened accessibility for customers at low cost and short notice with no insurance or copays required and no hidden fees. The main social responsibility idea behind JetDoc is affordable care of high quality for all users in the US.

Avizia is an interesting TeleMedicine solution as well. The application is designed for diagnosing, prescribing treatment, and conducting training online. The solution supports Cisco technology, includes comprehensive workflow management software, and uses digital stethoscopes and examination cameras together with other tools in order to create a sense of being present for users.

Conclusion

Today TeleMedicine is not only about video calls between patients and their attending physicians. It includes more complex and comprehensive solutions, and TeleMedicine software developers use innovative technologies: Artificial Intelligence, cloud storage, Augmented and Virtual Reality, etc. To effectively solve problems in the conditions of remote work, medical institutions need the help of IT specialists who will ensure high-quality development and support of software products.

By admin