“Friday afternoon, I went to a routine doctor’s appointment. Before arriving, I received an automated message that stated masks are ‘now required for the duration of your appointment.’ When I stepped into the office, I was offered hand sanitizer as the receptionist took my temperature. I asked her, ‘have you sent anyone home because they had a fever?’ ‘One,’ she replied, ‘and she was barely above normal.’”
In only a few weeks’ time, we’ve altered our social norms dramatically. No matter how much we’d like to believe normalcy is around the corner, that probably isn’t true. Instead, it’s time to embrace change that will create a healthier, more respectful society. For medical offices, this also means embracing telemedicine.
In reality, the majority of consultative appointments could be conducted online, making telemedicine an appealing and viable option for a significant portion of doctor’s visits. Medicare Chief Seema Verma agrees. Verma temporarily lifted a variety of telemedicine restrictions on March 17, in an effort for the nation to provide uninterrupted and safer care for patients across the country.
According to CNBC, telemedicine appointments could top 1 billion by the end of the year, with a 50% increase in telemedicine appointments occurring in March alone. If you’re in charge of implementing telehealth technology for a medical practice – or an entire medical system – what do you need to consider before launching a solution?
Telemedicine Security & Privacy
Doctors, nurses, and administrators are keenly aware of patient privacy and their responsibility to protect it. When applying telemedicine technology to the equation, protecting patient privacy and sensitive data becomes more complex. HIPPA has rigid laws guiding how “Individually Identifiable Health Information” can be handled in a digital environment, as well as personal security information, including physical addresses, email addresses, and social security numbers. The guidelines for these issues can be found at HHS.gov.
Accessibility & Usability for Telehealth Platforms
Useful telemedicine solutions are easily accessed by the practice’s patients through a smartphone, tablet, or computer. Many patients will have obstacles to overcome to access telemedicine, ranging anywhere from unfamiliarity with technology to visual impairments and other disabilities. Creating a platform that’s easily accessible and user-friendly – from the log-in page to the online portal – is paramount to its success.
Achieving these two factors requires a thorough understanding of UI/UX (user interface and user experience) best practices and implementation. Failing to implement them well will result in poor user adoption and patient care, whereas a successful implementation will connect patients and doctors quickly and effectively. Successful telehealth technology will lead to satisfied, well-cared-for patients and a massive reduction in physical visits from individuals at higher risk for contracting illnesses like COVID-19 and influenza.
Patient Management System & Back-Office Integrations
If you’re implementing a telemedicine solution in your organization, it’s important to integrate the platform into your existing back-office systems. Using APIs, your telemedicine platform can feed data to your existing booking system for in-person appointments so your doctors are never double-booked. It can also consume appointment notes and send them to your normal patient management platform, so all necessary files are housed in one location. Implementing a telemedicine solution with these tie-ins, as well as countless others, is essential to managing your data and staying organized.
It’s best to find a solution that’s already well-equipped to integrate with your patient management system or develop a custom platform from scratch. Be sure to choose a software development partner that’s well-versed in system integrations, UI/UX, and HIPPA compliance.
Implementing Telemedicine Technology
If you’re looking to implement a telemedicine solution within your organization and need help sifting through the many requirements to build one, reach out to 7T. Our team is well-versed in analyzing organizations from the inside out and can develop a custom solution that will help your practice run better.
Our discovery process will help you identify your precise software requirements and create a development strategy that results in a streamlined medical practice and satisfied patients, complete with stringent security measures and HIPPA compliance. To learn more, or to discuss your development project, contact us today.