Like every other industry, healthcare also requires digitization so that healthcare providers can reduce costs and improve the patient experience. The telemedicine platform is one of the digital initiatives healthcare providers should deploy to digitize their services. Telemedicine software makes medicine more accessible. It enables patients to skip commuting for checkups and makes it easier to work with patients who have trouble getting to their appointments due to lack of transportation options or mobility issues. Telemedicine platforms are crucial for healthcare providers considering potential cut savings. According to studies, telehealth technologies are projected to save the US healthcare industry $305 billion annually.
Telehealth platform landscape is crowded and there are different business models. As an industry analyst who helps businesses make the right purchase decision, we will focus on platforms that serve businesses such as hospitals and insurers:
What is a Telehealth platform?
A telehealth platform is a web-based or mobile-based application that brings doctors and patients together remotely on the same platform.
Why is a telehealth platform important now?
Studies estimate that the global telehealth market was valued at $27 billion in 2019 and expected to reach $172 billion by 2026 with a CAGR of 37%. Though most telehealth platforms were established BC (before Covid-19 era), the interest in the telemedicine industry has reached its peak with pandemics and lockdowns. As seen above graph, even after the lockdowns, the interest in telemedicine is still 3 times higher than the interest in the pre-pandemic era. This is because
- telehealth platforms can decrease the risk of infection for patients since patients can get a medical consultation from their house. According to a survey, more than 60% of patients say the pandemic has increased their willingness to try telehealth.
- telehealth platforms enable more efficient use of healthcare providers’ physical resources. Healthcare providers and doctors can manage their time more efficiently.
How does a Telehealth platform work?
Each telehealth platform vendors offer distinct features, however their platforms’ workflow is pretty much same:
- Healthcare providers share download link / referral code with patient. This is optional and some platforms are B2B2C with patients already onboarded on the platform
- Patients download the app
- Patients find and filter doctors according to their requirements.
- Patients schedule appointments
- Patients make a phone or video call with a healthcare provider to get a consultation.
What are the common features of Telehealth platforms?
Audio and Video Conferencing
Video calls enable doctors to examine patients more precisely. For instance, a physiotherapists can show workouts patients should do to strengthen patients’ muscles after a surgery.
Most telemedicine platforms allow patients to schedule online visits based on the availability of healthcare providers.
Doctors can create and send digital prescriptions to patients or a pharmacy patients choose for prescription refills. However, telemedicine practices are highly regulated in some countries and doctors are not allowed to write a prescription based on virtual examinations. Therefore healthcare providers should check regulations about e-prescriping before adding prescription feature to their platform.
Your telehealth platform must integrate with your EHR system. The integration enables doctors to send your clinical documentation notes to your EHR automatically. This also helps doctor check the medical history of the patient before a consultation.
Telemedicine platforms allow medical staff to communicate instantly, sending quick messages and enabling file sharing.
HIPAA compliant communication
A platform must ensure data security and protect patient data from being breached or stolen. According to U.S. Telemedicine Industry Benchmark, 79% of clinicians prioritize HIPPA-compliant messaging features for a telemedicine platform.
Healthcare analytics can also be embedded into platforms. Thanks to health data collected by wearable devices, doctors can leverage analytics to diagnose the patient better.
How can AI enhance Telehealth platforms?
Health assistant bots
There are various successful healthcare chatbots that make medical recommendations by collecting symptoms from patients and following basic patterns. Embedding these AI-powered assistants can decrease the time required to get a consultation.
For more, feel free to read our article on conversational AI in healthcare.
Matching patients to doctors
Machine learning algorithms can match patients’ diagnosis with the providers who have the appropriate clinical skills. For example, HiWell enables people find the best matching psychologist for their preferences.
Hope this clarifies some of the major points regarding telemedicine platforms. For more on how AI is changing the world, you can check out articles on AI, AI technologies and AI applications in marketing, sales, customer service, IT, data or analytics.
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Cem has been the principal analyst at AIMultiple since 2017. AIMultiple informs hundreds of thousands of businesses (as per similarWeb) including 60% of Fortune 500 every month.
Cem's work has been cited by leading global publications including Business Insider, Forbes, Washington Post, global firms like Deloitte, HPE, NGOs like World Economic Forum and supranational organizations like European Commission. You can see more reputable companies and media that referenced AIMultiple.
Throughout his career, Cem served as a tech consultant, tech buyer and tech entrepreneur. He advised businesses on their enterprise software, automation, cloud, AI / ML and other technology related decisions at McKinsey & Company and Altman Solon for more than a decade. He also published a McKinsey report on digitalization.
He led technology strategy and procurement of a telco while reporting to the CEO. He has also led commercial growth of deep tech company Hypatos that reached a 7 digit annual recurring revenue and a 9 digit valuation from 0 within 2 years. Cem's work in Hypatos was covered by leading technology publications like TechCrunch and Business Insider.
Cem regularly speaks at international technology conferences. He graduated from Bogazici University as a computer engineer and holds an MBA from Columbia Business School.
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