With the walls coming down on telemedicine reimbursement and physician licensing, many doctors are looking to start practicing telemedicine – either adding telemedicine to their services or starting their own online clinic. We’ve been talking with front line telemedicine practitioners about their biggest pain points in doing telemedicine and discovered that there are two common problems that most telemedicine providers are facing:
1. There isn’t a single complete telemedicine product that has all the online tools providers need to conduct their online practice.
Providers need at least three different tools to practice telemedicine: 1) video chat, 2) scheduling, and 3) collaboration and management such as storing/accessing doctor’s notes, patients information, secure email/messaging, admin portal, etc. Since these tools are usually not packaged together, providers end up having to use three separate tools to conduct a single telemedicine session. This means that doctors and staff have to spend time learning to use three different products. Worse still, they also have to manage all these tools during a telemedicine visit. Practically speaking, this means dealing with about a million open windows on the screen for a telemedicine session.
2. Scheduling systems are not web-based.
Most doctors work in a clinic or in an office that hosts its own EMR and/or scheduling systems. This is because in the past keeping patient medical records on site was considered more secure. Recently there has a lot of debate now about whether cloud-based (i.e. web-based) systems are just as secure – which is another story. However, the outcome of this is that doctors practicing telemedicine still need to go to their office or clinic to access their schedules. Sometimes they even have to use a specific computer just to check their appointment calendar. What they need is a telemedicine tool that is cloud-based so their schedules can be accessible from any device anywhere, including their home computer or smartphone. After all isn’t that the whole point of being able to do telemedicine?
Of course, doctors don’t have to deal with all that technical inconvenience. They could always join a telemedicine provider network that already has a platform with the telemedicine tools in place. There are a growing number of these such as MDLIVE, Teladoc, Doctor on Demand, American Well, HealthTap, etc….that are looking to employ doctors wanting a different lifestyle. But joining one of these telemedicine companies means giving up having your own online clinic and the freedom to practice medicine on your own terms.
You could also check out VSee’s new cloud medical office, which expands our OneClick Waiting Room with scheduling, online payment, and other features 🙂
What are your biggest pain points in practicing telemedicine?