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Mobile App Development

Types of Telemedicine in Healthcare

Nisha Gopinath Menon
October 30, 2020

Telehealth started originally as a way of treating patients located in remote areas, areas with shortages of medical professionals, or just areas far from local health facilities. While telehealth is still used today to address such issues, it's increasingly becoming a convenient and fast medical care tool. Today's connected user expects to get care immediately for urgent, but minor conditions whenever they need it and have to waste no time in the waiting room at the doctor's.

Telehealth services had already started to reach the tipping point as a viable alternative to in-person hospital visits, and now with COVID-19 forcing a change of many kinds upon us, telehealth systems have suddenly been catapulted into the spotlight. Healthcare organizations today are actively leveraging telemedicine solutions like Nova Telehealth as a viable and easy to use solution for connecting with patients while addressing the social distancing realities.

The unavailability of many already overburdened medical professionals (especially primary care providers) coupled with this expectation for more convenient care has led to the rise of many telemedicine practices. Many hospitals and physicians now offer their patients full-time access to medical care with an on-call doctor contracted by the company. Other services provide large health centers and hospitals access to extra clinical specialists and staff for the outsourcing of special cases, which is a common model among teleradiology firms. And still, others provide a telehealth platform for physicians to use to allow for virtual visits with their patients. Telemedicine increasingly is becoming a means of giving clinics and hospitals a competitive edge in a healthcare landscape where it's hard to maintain a healthy bottom line or stay independent.

The growing mobile health field, too, is impacting the rise of telehealth today. With the wide variety of new mobile medical devices and mobile health apps that are consumer-friendly, patients are starting to use technology to track and monitor their health. Simple home-use medical devices that can monitor glucose levels, measure blood pressure or take vitals and diagnose ear infections allow patients to gather necessary medical info for a physician's diagnosis without having to take a trip to the clinic are now commonplace. And again, as more patients become more open to alternative ways to get care, like through telehealth practices, they get more and more proactive about using technology to manage their health.

If you're looking to build a telemedicine app or website, you need to consider what services you would like to provide remotely. Depending on the permissions you have and the niche your clinic works in, there are various types of telehealth services you can offer.

Interactive telemedicine

The kind that first comes to mind when telemedicine is mentioned is interactive telemedicine. This includes video and phone calls for consultation. It's often used in situations where no close contact is necessary at the moment. It can be used for:
Follow-up consultations after a patient is released from the clinic.
Pharmaceutical advice
Mental therapy and neuropsychology
Monitoring post-injury rehabilitation process
Remote nursing consultations
An option to call the patient's doctor to visit him or her at their home can also be made a part of the interactive telehealth application.

Store-and-forward telemedicine

It's possible to use telemedicine solutions in dermatology and similar fields without video conferencing tools. A doctor can analyze a worrying development that was recorded on a photo or video by the patient, then sent to them, without the patient having to visit the clinic. This makes services cheaper for patients and easier to perform for doctors as they can be done without having to personally visit the patient.

IoT-based telemedicine

IoT or the Internet-of-Things industry houses an array of smart devices that can be widely used for many purposes, including the medical field for remotely monitoring a patient. Special devices can be used for measuring blood pressure, levels of sugar, heart rate, and other clinical parameters. The information obtained could be added to the medical records by the patient manually or automatically synced with an app, making it available for the doctor. This allows doctors to keep track of all changes in their patients suffering from chronic ailments.

Healthtech has become a key industry for the mobile app market as patients have become more open to taking care of their health with more efficiency and comfort at home than having to visit a physician in person. Custom telemedicine platform development is and will continue to be profitable as many users are now keen to try more accessible healthcare. Consultation apps include chat functionality, patient and doctor profiles, and the possibility to hold both video and audio calls. And integrating a payment gateway lets patients pay for a physician's service without having to leave the application.

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Nisha Gopinath Menon