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Telemedicine Software

What is telemedicine software.

Telemedicine software  is technology that enables patients and doctors to have conversations and conduct exams remotely. It can include things such as email, instant messaging, and phone calls but the most common application is video conferencing. 

Telemedicine is a type of telehealth that deals specifically with enabling doctor and patient interactions. This technology can include software, such as secure login and data encryption, and hardware, such as video cameras and microphones. 

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Table of Contents

The benefits of telemedicine software

Typical features of telemedicine software, the cost of telemedicine software, considerations when purchasing telemedicine software, relevant telemedicine software trends.

Improve patient satisfaction: Studies have shown that patients are more likely to select a medical provider who offers telemedicine services over one who doesn’t. By providing telemedicine, practices can better serve patients by offering the benefits that matter to them such as easier access to care and more affordable exams.

See more patients: Because telemedicine appointments tend to be faster than in-person exams, using this software enables providers to see even more patients, which in turn increases revenue.

Decrease no shows and cancellations: Making appointments easier for patients to attend has the added benefit of reducing no shows and appointment cancellations. Some estimates put the cost of no show appointments at $150 billion per year for the U.S. healthcare system and around $200 per unused time slot for independent providers.

Medically-specific software: Telemedicine software should be specific for medical use, such as diagnosis, treatment, and/or consultation, rather than general video conferencing software.

Remote treatment plans: Create online notes about patient appointments including short- or long-term care plans, follow-up appointment schedules, etc.

Appointment scheduling: Book appointments for patients and manage doctor’s calendar within the telemedicine platform. 

Video conferencing: Use audio/video tools to conduct secure, remote appointments with patients in real time.

E-Prescribing: Connect with a pharmacy to send electronic prescriptions remotely. 

Virtual waiting room: Monitor patient wait times for incoming appointment requests that have not been routed and notify patients when their scheduled appointments are available.

Most products in the market are priced on a per user, per month basis. Pricing can be divided into three pricing tiers based on their starting price:

Price ranges*:

*The pricing included is for the entry-level/lowest priced offering found on vendor websites on April 22, 2020. These ranges correspond to the 25th, 75th, and 100th percentiles of pricing information gathered from vendor websites of sample products. 

The above list summarizes pricing for the base plans of stand-alone telemedicine products. Some popular  electronic health records (EHR)  providers have developed integrated telemedicine platforms that are not offered or priced out separately from their electronic records platforms.

Stand-alone software versus integrated video conferencing features: One major consideration that will have a large impact on pricing and usability is the difference between stand-alone telemedicine platforms and EHRs with integrated telehealth features. Stand-alone systems may offer integrations with existing medical software such as EHR and billing but they will be priced separately. A good first step when researching telemedicine software is to check with your current EHR provider to see if they offer secure video conferencing or other telemedicine features.

HIPAA compliance: As with all medical software used by entities that adhere to HIPAA guidelines, all protected health information (PHI) shared via telemedicine software must be secured. When researching telemedicine software, you should verify that it is a secure system with protocols designed specifically for medical encounters.

COVID-19 increased adoption rates: In the first months of 2020, the coronavirus, or COVID-19, hit the United States. Because this virus is highly contagious and dangerous to immunocompromised patients, doctors and hospitals are looking to telemedicine to provide remote care and reduce the risk of spread. According to a SERMO survey from April 2020, remote and telehealth treatment have increased dramatically, to the point that over half of patients are being treated remotely.

Regulations and requirements around telemedicine have been changed to increase accessibility during COVID-19 outbreak: In order to make telemedicine easier to access and provide for patients, several key changes were made with the Coronavirus Preparedness and Response Supplemental Appropriations Act and the CARES Act. These changes included things such as expanded Medicare reimbursement for telemedicine appointments and relaxed enforcement of HIPAA regulations for the time being. These changes have led to widespread adoption of telemedicine, greatly increasing the number of providers and patients utilizing this software.

Products evaluated for the pricing calculation were taken from Capterra's  telemedicine software directory  and sorted by number of reviews. The pricing ranges exclude freemium versions of the products. The features highlighted were identified based on their relevance and the percentage of products in Capterra’s directory that offer them.

The following sources were used for this document:

1. Should You Offer Telemedicine Services? Patients Weigh In , Software Advice (Date accessed: April 23, 2020)

2.  Missed Appointments, Missed Opportunities: Tackling The Patient No-Show Problem , Forbes (Date accessed: April 22, 2020)

3.  Notification of Enforcement Discretion for Telehealth Remote Communications During the COVID-19 Nationwide Public Health Emergency , HHS (Date accessed: April 23, 2020)

4. COVID-19 HCP Sentiment Surveys Part 1: Physician Engagement with Patients and Remote/Telehealth Experiences , SERMO (Date accessed: April 22, 2020)

5. How Telemedicine Requirements Have Changed to Address COVID-19 , Software Advice (Date accessed: April 20, 2020)

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Provide the Opportunity for On-Premise or Remote Video Visitation

The GTL VisitMe video visitation solution allows federal, state, county, municipal, and private facilities to supplement traditional in-person visitation service offerings with secure on-premise or remote alternatives. This highly scalable solution can help facilities of any size improve security while allowing staff time to be reallocated to more critical tasks. In addition, friends, family, and professional visitors are given a convenient, accessible way to stay connected with inmates.

With the on-premise solution available through VisitMe, visitation services can be conducted at predetermined locations within the immediate facility or at an established annex location. Inmate visitation stations can be installed at specific locations throughout each housing unit so that inmates do not need to be moved. A visitation station can also be set up on a cart as a mobile solution for restricted classification offenders.

Utilizing the At-Home video visitation solution through VisitMe allows visitors to conduct their regular visitation sessions through most PCs, laptops, and tablets (Android or Apple iOS devices) without stepping onto facility property. As these visitation sessions are conducted in an outside environment, correctional staff members are provided with several monitoring tools to prohibit any illicit activity.

Minimize Inmate Movements

With the implementation of the GTL VisitMe solution, visitation units are installed in strategic locations throughout each housing unit, reducing the need to coordinate inmate movements throughout the facility. With the reduction of inmate movements, the threat of a safety and security breach will be drastically reduced so that staff can be reassigned to other duties.

Securely Monitor and Record Visits

With the security features built into the GTL VisitMe system, correctional officers monitoring the visitation sessions have the capability to record, interrupt, or terminate any visitation for lewd or inappropriate conduct as determined by the facility. For visitation sessions that are classified as professional visits, the system will automatically disable the recording feature, keeping the facility within legal compliance.

Eliminate Contraband Introduction Opportunities

As individuals pass through the lobby of the correctional facility on a daily basis, the threat of contraband being introduced remains a reality. Even without the availability of contact visits, contraband can be placed in an area often visited by inmates or employees. With the introduction of on-premise or at-home visitation, visitors will conduct each session from a secure area, removed from any point that may allow the introduction of contraband.

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Video Scheduling

VisitMe Scheduler can eliminate long queues in the visitation area by avoiding the chaos of having a high volume of concurrent visitors at the facility. In so doing, the system also minimizes staffing requirements.

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