The continued development of modern communications and information technologies has allowed medical professionals to reach out beyond their physical practice. Now with telemedicine software they can use desktop computers or mobile devices to virtually visit patients who might otherwise struggle to physically attend a clinical practice, not least because of living in a remote region or isolated community.

Even better for patients, doctors can use telemedicine software to provide general health monitoring for patients from a distance, especially those with existing conditions that might make it difficult for them to travel. For others, the doctor can remotely provide a diagnosis, sometimes aided by simple medical equipment the patient or their carer may already have, such as for taking weight or blood pressure. The doctor can provide advise accordingly, and order a prescription if required. 

The benefits for patients are obvious, especially in areas with rural populations spread out over very large areas, or in long-term care. For doctors the benefit isn’t just the reduced need to travel, but also the ability to work more efficiently. Virtual waiting rooms that allow patients to directly log into means the doctor is less likely to have to waste time waiting on missed appointments. Additionally, telemedicine software can also be used in emergency situations where remote clinical guidance is required.

However, telemedicine software needs to be easy to access and use, for both doctors and patients. Additionally, it needs to be able to provide reliable tools that are flexible enough to work for multiple scenarios. Above all, unlike general chat or web apps, it must be secure and safe to protect patient confidentiality. Here we’ll look at the best on the market for telemedine software.

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(Image: © Image Credit: Doxy Me)

1. Doxy Me

The little free telemedicine app

Free to use

Good features

Self hosted option is a simple, safe, and secure telemedicine software app for desktop, Android, or iOS devices. There’s no software to download or configure, and it’s easy to use, and it can usually integrate with EHR (Electronic Health Records) or PM (Practice Management) software. The biggest selling point is that it’s free to use for unlimited message, voice, and video communications, making it invaluable tool for many practices. 

There are paid tiers available, which do increase the features available beyond the basics. Although the Basic version is HIPAA complaint, both the Professional and Clinic tiers offer additional security and encryption on top of that. 

The Professional Tier also includes the ability to edit waiting rooms, provide text and email notifications, as well as scheduled phone of video appointments.

The Clinic tier adds further features focused on administration, security, and promotion. For example, it allows for group calling, photo capture and screensharing as well as file sharing. You can also take payments through the app and have a dedicated account rep. There are also monthly usage reports, marketing materials, and the ability to self-host the app and run it through your own domain.

The Basic tier remains free, with the Professional tier priced at $35 (£28) a month and the Clinic tier priced at $50 a month, through there is a 20% discount available for annual payments.

(Image: © Image Credit: AMC Health)

2. AMC Health

For full-feature telemedicine

Comprehensive suite of services

Bluetooth device options

Clinical trial and research options

AMC Health offers advanced telemedicine software that provides virtual conferencing between doctors and their patients, as part of health monitoring and care coordination. It also includes tracking and Bluetooth connectivity to allow the operation of remote devices to send biometric data, which can be provided by either the patient or a care giver.

The software allows for patient personalization with a dashboard summary which runs in real-time, to make it easier to make early assessments, guide adjustments, and correction medication. Additionally the data can be configured into workflows. The bluetooth option also allows for a number of devices to be used remotely, such as wireless scales, blood pressure monitors and blood oximeters, glucometer adapters, thermometers and more.

AMC Health is also geared toward reducing costs for clinical trials into healthcare research by biopharmaceutical manufacturers and clinical research organizations.

There is no set pricing plan, not least due to the option to purchase monitoring devices, so you will need to talk to a sales rep for a quote.

(Image: © Image Credit: swyMed)

3. swyMed

The emergency care tele-provider

Can handle low bandwidth

Can integrate with hospital equipment

Emergency care on the go

swyMed provide telemedicine software for community paramedicine programs, emergency response encounters, hospital and home health monitoring. They do this by offering mobile solution that can provide high-quality connections even over bandwidth as low as 60kbps.

The community paramedicine program is built for delivering real-time video communications, and supports home health monitoring especially where there is a higher risk of readmission.

The Mobile Integrated Healthcare (MIH) system is designed to provide information to first responders at the scene of an emergency in the field, or even on the hospital journey. swyMed can provide cameras and special glasses equipped with a microphone and videolink which can be integrated with it anywhere. swyMed can also cover Remote Patient Evaluation (RPE), Mobile Telestroke, Monitoring during Pediatric and High Risk Transports.

For hospital care, swyMed can integrate with EHR, PM, and even medical devices. This allows swyMed to link up doctors with patients, labs, and clinics at the same time.

As expected, the versatility of swyMed means that it will require a custom quote rather than work to preconfigured payment tiers.

(Image: © Image Credit: Teladoc)

4. Teladoc

The simple communications solution

Simple way to connect doctors and patients

Nationwide network

Only a phone signal required

Non-essential services only

Teladoc isn’t a full-featured telemedicine solution, nor intended to provide guidance during emergencies – it’s intended as a convenient way for patients to access a national network of doctors. Although patients can use a desktop to access their records, they only need a phone app to access Teladoc. This allows them to speak to a medical professional about routine illnesses and health issues.

For individual doctors, this means they can extend their work practice or change to a more flexible working pattern by making themselves available to any patient calling up the network. This means that patient relationships are not intended to be long-term as much as simply ensuring someone is available to listen to and advise on their concerns. Doctors can access the service from a desktop or mobile app, and only a cell phone signal is require to use it.

The service is strictly related to non-emergency care, and only routine prescriptions can be made out for medicines such as antibiotics, anti-histamines, or minor behavioral drugs. Controlled substances cannot be prescribed through the system, and emergency calls must be routed through to a dedicated clinic or hospital.

All in all, rather than for developing a doctor-patient relationship, Teladoc is built to serve people who simply want easy access to routine medical advice or care, and for doctors who want to work hours that better suit themselves. 

Pricing varies according to the service provision, so doctors will need to contact Teladoc directly to find out more.

(Image: © Image Credit: Mend)

5. Mend

The easy telemedicine suite

Easy to use

Simplify workflows

Reduce missed appointments

Mend is a full-featured telemedcine suite that specifically aims to increase efficiency and profitability by reducing the volume of missed appointments. It does this buy adding SMS appointment reminders, online forms, and patient self-scheduling, all of which combined seek to reduce no-shows to single percentiles.

It also offers voice and video calling, of course, but it also includes a number of automated processes to help increase workflows and productivity, not least by reducing the number of tools and screens that are required for use. It also makes online forms as simple as using drag and drop to fill them, reducing the need for manual entry. 

Another feature is that it includes a number of survey options so you can discover any potential shortfalls in the way your clinic deals with patients, and by actioning any insights, reduce the likelihood of bad reviews that could be potentially damaging.

Mend aims to reduce the number of tools and screens required, can also integrate with most EHR and PM software platforms, Mend advertises that it costs from $69 a month per provider, but you will need to contact them for a quote.