Insights / Industry Perspectives / How telemedicine solutions are improving patient care


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How telemedicine solutions are improving patient care

Technology has long been used to fight back against healthcare challenges. But as hospital visits become potential health hazards due to COVID-19 and patients and physicians look to communicate online, a bright spotlight is now on telemedicine solutions.

A short history of telemedicine

Telemedicine and remote consultations aren’t new. As far back as 1879, articles discussed the benefits of health check-ups via telephone, while journals in the 1920s showed images of patients getting medical information via radio.

Fast forward to the present day. Remote health consultations and telemedicine solutions have never been more important. With millions of people around the world under lockdown and health workers at increased risk of infection, the healthcare industry has become increasingly focused on alternatives to physical meetings.

The shift to telemedicine was already underway before the pandemic, but the new reality imposed by COVID-19 has forced most of the population to embrace telemedicine solutions.

More convenient health consultations

The main advantage of telemedicine is convenience. Improvements in medical technology have allowed physicians to provide care and advice to patients over the Internet from the comfort of their homes.

With more consultations taking place over the phone or on FaceTime or Zoom, patients are spending much less time in waiting rooms, allowing them more time for busy lifestyles. It’s also been a life-saving development for immobile patients who have trouble physically getting to a hospital. 

Doctors can assess symptoms, make diagnoses, recommend treatments, and prescribe medications without coming into physical contact with the patient, helping reduce the spread of COVID-19.

Teleconsultations aren’t the only technology making life more convenient for patients and doctors. The emergence of remote patient monitoring (RPM) has made it possible for a patient’s entire medical history to be available to physicians at any location with the click of a mouse or the touch of a screen. RPM has made it easier for doctors to see the big picture and for chronically ill patients to receive a more complete diagnosis.

Telemedicine can reduce the costs of care

Telemedicine solutions also provide financial benefits for both patients and physicians. A 2018 study by The American Journal of Emergency Medicine found that avoiding emergency rooms saves patients between $309 and $1,500+. The convenience of at-home access to medical assistance has other financial benefits, such as saving on fuel and time.

Hospitals see a financial boost as well. Remote analysis technologies enable fractional employment where highly trained professionals work as a pooled resource rather than being stuck over-staffing low-volume clinics. Telemedicine has brought new meaning to “quality over quantity” in healthcare.

It’s also a financial relief for hospitals when patients are not required to physically visit facilities. One of healthcare’s hidden costs is the monitoring of inpatients, which takes up valuable time and resources. Making patient monitoring a remote activity has alleviated these costs.

Finally, the use of data analysis in telemedicine also has long-term financial benefits. Health patterns and problems can be caught ahead of time, allowing clinicians to help patients take the correct course of action to avoid diseases. The increased accuracy of data analysis and online monitoring means issues are flagged before they become financially and physically draining for all involved.

At the forefront of healthcare innovation

Many HTEC clients are healthcare innovators, and we’ve helped build technologies that bring healthcare to the homes of those who need it most, covering everything from maternity care to the current COVID-19 crisis.

Our work with clients has allowed us to see healthcare trends and use cases in action, such as:

  • Humeds Cardia-3, an HTEC-developed telemedicine solution for patients with cardiac issues, combines AI and IoT to remotely monitor and share ECG signals in real-time.
  • The PocDoc COVID-19 digital testing platform, which HTEC developed with UK-based Vital Signs Solutions. PocDoc combines a finger-prick testing kit and an app that collects and organizes COVID-19 testing data with a 98% accurate result within 10 minutes.

Telemedicine is not perfect, but it’s here to stay

Telemedicine is still not for everyone. Many patients prefer the personal touch of an in-person visit, and others remain apprehensive about online care, fearful of fraud, financial complications, or poor connectivity.

While there are limitations to telemedicine solutions, as with any emerging technology, the flaws will be ironed out over time. What’s undeniable is that telemedicine offers physical, emotional, and financial benefits to both patients and physicians and will continue to do so for the foreseeable future.

Want to learn more about how HTEC’s technology expertise can transform your business? Explore our Product Engineering and Healthcare & Medical Technology capabilities.