What is telemedicine and how does this technology works?
What is telemedicine?
The coronavirus pandemic has caused an unprecedented health crisis in recent decades, overwhelming hospitals and testing the limits of healthcare professionals around the world.
However, this crisis has increased the incorporation of a practice that has been gaining visibility in recent years and that, especially in times of saturation of health centers, can be a great ally for both doctors and patients: telemedicine. This has driven the demand and use of medical software that allows this activity to be carried out.
But what is telemedicine? The definition of telemedicine is as follows :
Telemedicine is the practice of medicine at a distance, whose interventions, diagnoses, therapeutic decisions, and recommendations for subsequent treatments are based on patient data, documents, and other information transmitted through telecommunication systems. Telemedicine can be done between a doctor and a patient or between two or more doctors, including other healthcare professionals.
We have prepared this article with some of the main aspects about how telemedicine works to clear up some of the doubts that have arisen since attention began to be given to remote medical practice due to the recent health crisis.
How Telemedicine Technology Works
You already know what telemedicine is, but to be able to practice it is essential to have the appropriate digital tools, telemedicine software allows doctors to communicate both with patients and with each other and carry out scans from a distance. These tools consist of media such as email, instant messaging, and phone calls, but one of the most requested features is video conferencing.
Telemedicine, therefore, is primarily concerned with enabling interaction between doctors and patients, and constitutes a sphere that is within telehealth . Telehealth includes, in addition to remote assistance services, the areas of diagnosis, training, health research, among others.
Among the benefits of telemedicine and the programs that combine it with other characteristics, both for doctors and patients, we can highlight:
- Ability to keep more appointments : By avoiding travel, delays and queues in the waiting room, technology helps doctors keep more appointments and patients save time.
- Reduced number of canceled appointments : Medical software makes appointment and monitoring easier, reducing the number of canceled visits or no-shows.
- Information exchange : Doctors using the same IT solution can exchange information in an easier and more agile way, and answer questions with more experienced professionals or those who have already treated similar cases.
- Security and agility : Doctors can store all patient information in one place and safely.
- Easy access to specialists at a lower cost : Teleconsultation allows access to clinics and hospitals located miles away from the patient’s home at a lower cost. This is a great advantage, especially for those who are far from the large urban centers, where most of the specialists are concentrated.
Main features of medical software
As we’ve mentioned, telemedicine refers to virtual care, but it can also offer a set of features in addition to the call center. Take a look at the main features shown below:
Allows you to schedule appointments and control the attendance schedule
Electronic medical record
It gathers all the information of the patient (medicines used, diagnoses, medical history, allergies, radiological images, test results, etc.) and facilitates the access to the data.
In addition to being more secure than old paper reports, electronic medical records help organize information. Old paper documents can also be scanned and imported into these tools.
As we have indicated previously, it is an online service, which uses the computer video and audio system.
After the medical history, the electronic prescription is undoubtedly one of the most important functionalities of this type of software.
In addition to the simple prescription, some types of software are integrated with systems that connect doctors and patients directly with pharmacies for the location and even the purchase of drugs.
Like ERP systems or enterprise resource planning systems, leading telemedicine software also has management modules for clinics or offices, with features such as accounts payable, accounts receivable, inventory, and logistics.
Another common feature is to generate financial and accounting reports.
Other type of software for doctors
It is important to remember that technology is an ally of doctors not only in the care of patients.
There are already several types of software that are dedicated to helping doctors, nurses, assistants, and other professionals in specific areas, such as scheduling appointments, billing, or registrations.
Below we have selected the main tools of the type:
- Medical billing software: centralize and automate accounts receivable, payment processing, etc.
- Appointment Scheduling Software – Focuses on appointment management, staff control, and patient medical records.
- Patient Management Software – Helps streamline management workflow so doctors and staff can spend more time with patients and less time on administrative tasks.
- Clinical Analysis Laboratory Software – Focused on medical and research laboratories, they help coordinate sample data, tests, and results.
- EMS software (medical emergencies): helps in the management of this type of service.
- Electronic Prescribing Software – While an electronic prescription is a basic feature of telemedicine software, it is also offered in unique and more robust programs.