> In a few years, the idea of receiving medical treatment exclusively at a doctor’s office or hospital will seem quaint.
-- Harvard Business Review
While a few years would have definitely shifted a significant portion of medical treatment online, COVID-19 has shortened the wait. It has disrupted every sector around the globe, and the medical sector is arguably the most affected. Crises present us with unique conditions that allow innovators to think and move more freely to create rapid, impactful change. It was true for the World Wars in the early 1900s, and it is true for the unprecedented time caused by COVID-19 right now. We witnessed ingenious inventions post SARS and this time around, telemedicine is on the horizon.
Benefits of telemedicine are not limited to patients. It has opened doors to unmarked territories for medical practitioners and healthcare workers around the globe. What seemed like a gradually evolving process has outpaced everyone’s expectations.
Before divulging any further, let us talk about the history of telemedicine:
From routine checks to urgent calls, on-demand healthcare has always been in high demand. Admittedly, none of us plan for a severe headache or sudden back pain. It didn’t take long for innovators to imagine how doctors could tend to patients over the radio after radio revolutionized communication in the early 1900s. Take a look at an image from a radio magazine in 1924!
From The cover of Radio News magazine, April 1924. (Image name --- The Radio Doctor)
“The Radio doctor” — Maybe was a vision for the future at the time.
But, it really started in the 1940s in Pennsylvania, when radiology images were sent 24 miles between two townships via telephone line in the world’s first instance of an electronic medical record transfer. A Canadian doctor built upon this technology in the 1950s, constructing a teleradiology system that was used in and around Montreal.
As the motion picture gained popularity, so did the idea of video medicine. The first people to use video communication for medical purposes were clinicians at the University of Nebraska. Telemedicine primarily grew in popularity in rural areas, where populations with limited healthcare access could reach specialists from afar. Now that we know a brief history of telemedicine, let’s dive into the benefits of telemedicine for a medical practitioner.
Benefits of telemedicine for a medical practitioner
Not too long ago, telehealth required massive up-front capital to purchase large equipment kiosks and sophisticated digital technology. But now, they are affordable as they no longer require big upfront overhead costs but are part of monthly subscription packages that are secure and HIPAA-compliant.
Today, telehealth applications are software-as-a-service (SaaS) and because of that, doctors are as close to their patients as the smartphone in the pocket of their patients. This new telemedicine business model allows medical specialists to launch their telehealth platform for consumers and offering their services online. With telemedicine, doctors can, not only, reach rural areas but also connect with their peers to expand access to care in new ways. Research says that around 85% of the patients are satisfied with their 1st telemedicine experience, which points to high patient retention. It also results in a reduction of patient no-shows. No shows cause a significant revenue loss for the organization and the quality of care gets compromised, particularly for follow-up visits. Research shows that when treatment gets expanded with telehealth, the no-show rates improve by at least 50%.
How can we talk about benefits of telemedicine without discussing some of the best telemedicine software for remote clinical care? Joining a new platform or signing up for new software is a big step. A lot of research needs to be done to find the best solution. It’s hard to find time as a healthcare worker, so we have compiled a list of software we believe are the best ones in 2021. Hopefully, we can help you narrow down your choices.
5 Highly-rated telemedicine software in 2021
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, telemedicine has become increasingly popular among patients who are hesitant to come to the emergency department for more routine complaints and checkups while some practices are running with reduced hours, or are even closed. Furthermore, telemedicine options are frequently immediately accessible, and available on a 24/7 basis, making this an attractive option for patients seeking care.
There are different kinds of telemedicine software in the market. Some are standalone that only offer a certain feature, but some are all-in-one and include everything from medical billing software to electronic health records (EHR). It should be noted that standalone telemedicine platforms often integrate easily with other medical software.
In conclusion, whichever telemedicine platform you opt for should be able to work well with existing medical and health service software already in use. Keeping that in mind, here is a list of 5 telemedicine software we have curated for you.
1. Doxy.me — It is a simple, free & secure telemedicine solution. You can create your personal room and provide virtual care online, no matter the distance. You communicate with your patients via live chat functionality, track patient queues, create personalized waiting rooms, and view meeting history on a unified dashboard.
It is available for free at the basic level and scales across two pricing plans: Professional and clinic. The monthly Professional Plan is $35/month and the monthly Clinic Plan starts at $50/month for 1 provider, while the annual Professional Plan is $29/month and the Annual Clinic Plan starts at $42/month for 1 provider.
Taken from Doxy.me’s Website (Image name -- Doxy.me)
2. Simplepractice.com — It is a highly rated practice management platform, made for small business owners in the health & wellness space. It is known for its clean interface. SimplePractice’s industry-leading feature set includes a fully paperless intake process, custom notes & forms, free appointment reminders (SMS, email, & voice), mobile app, e-claim filing, a beautiful client portal, billing & invoicing, and a HIPAA-compliant video platform to see your clients over; anytime, anywhere!
Their solo practice plan includes two options — Essential and Professional. The essential plan at $39/month is designed for the single clinician that’s just getting started, but you can upgrade at any time to the Professional plan, which is $59/month.
They also have an option for group practice, wherein you can team up with up to 9 other clinicians.
Taken from Simplepractice.com’s website (Image name -- Simplepractice.com)
3. Sprucehealth.com — It is an all-in-one HIPAA-compliant platform built for healthcare that puts calls, voicemails, texts, secure messages, fax, video, and telemedicine all in one place. Spruce can power your entire practice’s phone system, complete with VoIP phones. For advanced practices, Spruce provides an after-hours phone solution, bulk messaging, workflow automation, payments, membership-based auto-tagging, and EHR integrations.
They offer two types of plans — Basic and Communicator. Basic comes at, $24/per/month while Communicator is $49/user/month with extra features like custom workflows and mobile payments.
Taken from Sprucehealth.com’s website (Image name -- Sprucehealth.com)
4. Nexhealth.com — It is the leading patient experience and practice management platform that integrates directly with practice management and EHR systems. Your business workflows are made better with a cloud-based platform enabling real-time online scheduling, automated appointment reminders, video visits (telehealth), patient messaging, digital forms and payments, reporting, virtual waitlist, and more!
They offer four plans — Acquire, Retain, Delight and Complete. They don’t mention their pricing on the website, but you can contact them to get a price and package suitable for your needs.
Taken from Nexhealth.com’s website (Image name -- Nexhealth.com)
5. Charmhealth.com — Charm health offers Electronic Health Record (EHR), Practice Management (PM), Medical Billing (RCM), TeleHealth, and Healthcare Messaging solutions. It is easy to use, and you use the filter option to make it more personalized. You can start small and grow big, and you don’t need to worry about additional software or hardware costs. There is No Lock-In through multi-year contracts.
It is cost-efficient, and free until you have a certain number of patients. They don’t mention pricing on their website, but you can contact them for more details.
Taken from Charmhealth.com’s website (Image name -- Charmhealth.com)
That wraps our recommendations for the best telemedicine software in the market in 2021. We hope we were able to help you out and make your decision a little easier. Let us know if you need any further help on any of the 5 software mentioned, we will gladly assist you.