By developing an app in this space, healthcare providers and practices are able not only to improve their internal processes, but also enhance their patients’ experiences, as well.
During the early stages of the process, businesses need to consider which features of telemedicine software will benefit them.
Today’s telehealth app can include a wide range of features.
These can involve a lot more than just remote appointments and can facilitate everything from scheduling to payments.
This can be a boon for both patients and healthcare providers alike, making the entire process more streamlined and efficient.
Patient Experience Features
Many of the features in a telehealth app work toward improving the patient experience.
These components make everything from appointment setting to accessing information much easier for patients.
What may seem to be a simple feature, a user profile can bring a lot of value to a telemedicine app.
From the patient side, the user profile can provide an easy overview of past visits and future appointments.
On the provider side, it can give receptionist, RNs and more access to information that they can use to make a patient’s experience more personalized and provide quick access to essentials such as emergency contacts and alternative phone numbers.
The patient portal is one of the key features of telemedicine app development today. This portal serves as a UI for the patient experience in the app. It can include:
- One-click access to appointment setting;
- Patient records;
- Prescription information;
- One-click access to payments.
In short, a patient portal when designed well serves as the central point for the user experience in the app. Patients should be able to access any and all functionality in the app from this portal.
Some of the most central components of any telehealth app are its in-app communication functions.
These components facilitate direct communication between patient and office, for one. Most importantly, in-app communication can be in support of live video sessions in which patients and providers conduct appointments.
In-app communication features to consider integrating into a telehealth app include:
- In-app chat;
- In-app email;
- In-app calling;
- Live video sessions.
Since these features involve communication and file sharing related to sensitive patient data, these aspects of an app must be designed with the strictest security protocols in mind.
Audio and video capabilities should be high-quality as well, ensuring no interruption in service so that a patient has as positive an experience as possible during an appointment or communication.
Patients can also set their own appointments in a telehealth app using an appointment setting feature.
The process of setting appointments is a huge time drain for many practices and also distracts front-of-office workers from providing attention and care to patients in an office.
Patients themselves are often frustrated with the time and energy it takes to schedule an appointment by calling in.
With an integrated appointment setting feature, a telemedicine app can create a small change that, nonetheless, delivers big benefits to a practice.
One feature that certainly makes a practice run more efficiently is the payment portal.
This payment interface allows patients to view bills and make payments electronically.
Payment methods supported can run the gamut from bank transfers to credit card transactions.
The Payment Portal can also integrate with prominent insurance providers, allowing practices to process insurance reimbursements more quickly and streamlining one of the most complex aspects of running a practice.
Patient Data Features
Telehealth apps are also great ways to organize, store and share essential patient data.
These features can help patients feel that they have more agency in the process and can make it easier for practices to provide healthcare.
Electronic Medical Records (EMR)
More and more telemedicine apps these days include the storage of EMRs, or Electronic Medical Records. This helps ensure a more flexible workflow from the provider side. It also gives patients an instant and easy way to access their health data.
Physicians can also use EMRs in support of consultation and as a way to track patient conditions over time.
EMR security and telehealth regulations related to EMR are perhaps the most mission-critical aspects of building a telehealth app.
In many regions across the world, including in the US, telehealth regulations define strict parameters for the sharing, storing, and sending of patient data.
Practices and providers that integrate EMR features into an app also need to consider user access.
Carefully structuring data access to certain users can help ensure that patient data stays as safe as possible.
Remote Patient Monitoring (RPM)
A next-generation feature of telehealth that is increasingly gaining momentum is Remote Patient Monitoring, or RPM.
This involves the integration of the Internet of Things.
Remote devices, such as heart rate monitors or blood sugar monitors, can log patient data wherever that patient is and update the app in real time. In this way, doctors have actionable, live data on patient progress and conditions.
This feature can be especially powerful in treating chronic conditions such as diabetes or congestive heart failure and dramatically improve patient quality of life.
A symptom checker is a telehealth app feature that can do a bit of initial triage for a practice.
For example, it can be integrated with an appointment setting feature, allowing a practice to gather initial information on a patient’s condition.
In times of pandemic as we experienced in 2020, a symptom checker can also be an effective tool for triaging patients with a particular condition away from the general patient population.
Symptom checkers typically take on the format of a questionnaire and are quick and easy for patients to fill out while delivering a lot of value and ROI to a practice.
Prescribing medication is a significant part of most medical practices.
The ongoing management of that medication is also important, and is a complex part of patient care.
An app feature that can add a good deal of value to a telehealth app facilitates medication management, providing a straightforward way for patients to renew prescriptions, receive alerts when prescriptions are ready, or even report side effects on a medication to a physician.
In the most complex iterations of this, a medication management feature will integrate with a pharmacy online and can even support home delivery of prescriptions.
This feature can be of enormous value to patients with mobility issues or who are unable to travel.
The same feature can also be used by a practice to support lab testing, following the same procedures and protocols to submit samples and receive results electronically via a laboratory.
The Bottom Line
As you can see, there are many app features that one can integrate into a telehealth app.
Which will be the best for a particular app will depend on the specifics of a practice and its needs.
With the help of skilled app developers that specialize in telemedicine applications, your healthcare enterprise can select and implement features that streamline processes, improve patient welfare, and add a good deal of value to your practice or telehealth business.