In one of our previous articles, we already wrote about the importance of digital transformation and how it is changing the global economy, optimizing business operations, making certain tasks easier, and increasing productivity in many industries.
In medicine and healthcare, the use of advanced IT technologies opens up new opportunities for telemedicine software development to improve the interaction between the patient and the doctor and improve the quality of medical care, treatment, and access to medical data.
Global forecasts and trends in the field of IT medicine
According to a recent report by Binariks, the global digital healthcare market is expected to reach $234 billion by 2023, up from $147 billion in 2019, of which the health IT services sub-segment will hold the largest market share.
One of the main drivers of this significant growth is the shift in the focus of the healthcare industry towards value-based, or patient-centered care, which bridges the gap between what customers want and what the healthcare system can provide.
According to Deloitte, these new healthcare models will be driven by advanced telehealth software solutions that shape the future of the industry in terms of predictive, preventive, and personalized care:
- Cloud Computing solutions;
- 5G (fifth generation) technology, designed for the most reliable support, with minimal delays and large-scale data transfer;
- radical interoperability and open platforms that make medical information more accessible;
- artificial intelligence (AI) to improve diagnostic accuracy and treatment efficiency;
- natural language processing (NLP), which can be implemented in medical chatbots to create detailed medical notes from spoken or written sentences;
- big data analytics, which already helps to interpret medical images more accurately than practicing doctors do;
- Data as a Platform (DaaP – data as a platform);
- virtual reality as a safer alternative to drugs for pain relief, for the treatment of mental disorders; VR simulation of operations for better planning and training of medical staff, etc;
- robotics, sensors on wearable devices, and medical IoT;
- blockchain systems that help to combine data from numerous medical systems, and pharmacies, organize insurance claims, control, and track supply channels of medical products, and much more;
- platforms for training.
Thanks to the continuous improvement of smartphones, tablets, wearables, and other portable wireless devices, as well as the rapid growth of the mobile application market, telemedicine application development, open up new opportunities to increase revenues, reduce costs and improve patient care for both healthcare facilities and telemedicine software vendors.
What is telemedicine software?
Health information technology (Health IT) encompasses a range of technologies for storing, exchanging, and analyzing health information. Both telemedicine and telehealth are their components.
Despite the fact that these two concepts, at first glance, are synonymous, there are subtle differences between them.
Telemedicine is considered an earlier term, more focused on the clinical application and use of telecommunication technologies to provide traditional diagnostics and monitoring.
In particular, it refers to remote training and the provision of remote clinical services to patients. Examples of telemedicine are video consultation, digital image transmission, remote medical diagnosis, etc.
Telehealth refers to a wider range of services and technologies that go beyond the doctor-patient interaction. It covers both telemedicine and educational services, telepharmacy, and other non-clinical services that can be provided remotely.
Telemedicine software development can be divided into the following categories
Telemedicine software for real-time communication. Real-time communication requires the patient and doctors to be in simultaneous contact using various technical means to conduct a clinical visit: webcam, telephone, computer audio system, chat, etc.
Real-time telemedicine most closely resembles a “live” visit to a doctor and allows both parties to assess and discuss the patient’s condition and provide treatment remotely, as well as connect to a remote specialist or institution for consultation.
Some real-time telemedicine applications can also support mobile medical devices to capture patient health information instead of a physical examination.
Telemedicine platforms for data storage and transmission. They are related to the transfer of digital images and videos for diagnosis, for example in radiology or dermatology, or clinical data between patients and doctors or between doctors for further consultation.
It is a secure and fast way to exchange clinical information, allowing for more accurate diagnosis and more efficient healthcare delivery, especially in areas where access to quality healthcare is limited, such as rural or remote areas.
Remote patient monitoring. Also called “home telemedicine”, it allows healthcare professionals to monitor a patient’s condition using various medical devices that can be installed in the home to track the patient’s vital signs and receive more frequent updates on the patient’s well-being.
Remote monitoring is especially useful for patients with chronic diseases or those recovering from a serious injury, illness, or surgery, for bedridden patients, and elderly patients whose physical condition does not allow them to come to the doctor.
Integration of software for telemedicine.
The key requirements for quality software systems for telemedicine and telehealth are their seamless integration with existing EHR systems (EHR – electronic health records), proper documentation of telemedicine visits, synchronization of insurance programs, integration with patient portals, medical ARI, revenue cycle management platforms, etc.
All of the above is crucial to provide healthcare providers with better technology and patients with convenient care. Some telemedicine platforms are created directly to “communicate” with mobile medical devices.
Integration with pharmaceuticals. Through the use of telemedicine software, patients have access to many professional services provided by pharmacies and can get advice on managing drug therapy remotely.
Pharmacies participating in telemedicine programs typically collaborate with other healthcare providers to provide their clients with comprehensive care.
Telepharmacy services may include patient consultations, monitoring of drug therapy, obtaining authorization for repeat prescriptions, and the use of telecommunications for training, videoconferencing, education, and management among pharmacists.
Data analysis in the healthcare sector. The share of data analysis is estimated to grow to at least 65% of the global health data market.
Big data analysis and robotics make it possible to process and extract valuable insights from large volumes of healthcare information that are collected and stored on various platforms and applications.
Some modern robots can record vital signs during medical procedures.
Healthcare analytics also helps to assess the quality of practitioners’ work and patients’ costs to maximize their efficiency and allows better risk management based on aggregated data (medical data, demographic and social profile, comorbidities, etc.).