Technology has always played an integral role in the healthcare industry for well over a millennia. While new technological innovations have caused modern marvels such as the blood transfusion procedure and cancer discovery, one aspect of hospitals has remained unchanged for centuries.
This is the standard physical examination everyone knows as the “check-up”. These procedures are fairly routine, and have been for countless years. However, the plight of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has changed the way people visit hospitals.
Since many people were refined to their homes, there needed to be a virtual method of conducting routine check-ups, without sacrificing the important operations that should take place such as, taking blood pressure and examining weight.
Colloquially, this area of innovation is called telehealth. This presents software developers in healthcare with keen opportunities to develop solutions to accommodate hospitals and clinics across the world. For instance, machine learning will have a huge impact on healthcare.
In particular, this article will delve on both the challenges and opportunities software developers face in this arena.
Why the Healthcare Field Needs Better Technology?
In the past, before many advanced technologies were available, it was much easier to maintain the health of a person.
For example, if an individual developed symptoms that pointed towards a heart attack or high blood pressure, they would contact their physician via telephone and explain what was going on with them. The patient would probably end up seeing their doctor in a few days for further check-up. If anything serious did develop, then the person would likely be transferred to a hospital where specialists could provide assistance.
Today, however, advances in healthcare technology have presented great opportunities that were not possible before such as allowing patients to conduct medical related operations from their homes instead of visiting hospitals or clinics every day.
What is Telehealth?
Telehealth is a portmanteau for both “telecommunications” and “healthcare”. It is a modern medical practice that involves the use of communications technology such as video conferencing, mobile messaging applications and online health portals to deliver healthcare services.
Telemedicine on the other hand is specifically referring to the provision of healthcare using telecommunication technologies instead of face-to-face interaction between two parties. In the case of telehealth, patients do not necessarily require seeing their doctors in person even if they are handling a serious illness like cancer.
They can take advantage of mobile phone or computer programs for remote consultations where specialists from their region could help them. The trend has gained popularity due to its many advantages including convenience; accessibility; affordability; effectiveness and high level information security among other things.
What are the Benefits of Telehealth?
The benefits of telehealth are numerous. The first one is that it costs less than traditional methods, especially when in comparison with long distance travel and transportation.
Some studies reveal that patients who access medical treatment over IT communication tools spend up to 75% less on their healthcare services than those who visit a hospital without taking advantage of such technology.
It also offers flexibility of time for both the doctors and the patients unlike face-to-face consultation where each party has to be present at specific working hours with no choice but to sit down together every week or month even if they do not need each other during those times.
Telehealth helps medical practitioners screen for diseases more efficiently and at a cheaper cost than the conventional way – by visiting a patient in person and conducting physical examinations. The practice has taken off in the US with Medicare approving reimbursement for some services in 2006. Furthermore, it was adopted by many private insurers due to its ability to reduce unnecessary trips made by patients to healthcare facilities as they can now be treated remotely via video conferencing or online chats.
What are the Disadvantages of Telehealth?
Telehealth isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution. In fact, there are some notable disadvantages to its use. First, telehealth is often limited to the field of medicine.
Second, health care providers must have high-speed Internet access at all times, which can be tricky for smaller healthcare institutions with limited resources. Finally, there are a few patients who do not trust technology with their health.
At the moment, telehealth still needs to be widely introduced to healthcare organizations across the world. And, that’s where software developers come in.
What are the Challenges of Software Developers for Telehealth?
Telehealth is one of the most rapidly growing areas in health care. The solutions available through telehealth are increasing each year, making it an increasingly competitive market for developers and software companies alike.
In order to make a difference in this market, software developers need to consider their specialties; however, with so many different fields involved with designing telehealth solutions, it can be difficult to choose which path will benefit both businesses and healthcare practitioners.
As such, software developers need to consider certain aspects of telehealth, such as:
- Real-time interactions
- Remote monitoring
- User profiles
- Video and audio calls
- Customer support
- Important integrations
- HIPAA regulations
How Will HIPAA Regulations Affect Telehealth
HIPAA regulations were put in place to protect patient information and privacy, requiring businesses with access to HIPAA-protected data to follow strict security standards. Although the specific details of these rules can be difficult to grasp at times, it is important for telehealth software developers and physicians to understand how they will affect the development of systems used for different types of patient interactions. For instance:
Privacy requirements should be considered when creating databases that store health records because patients have specific rights regarding their personal medical information. They also have a certain level of control over this information if shared with third parties  . For instance, patient consent must be obtained before using or disclosing these records unless certain exceptions apply (such as public safety and research.
Need Help With Software Development?
At Dev.co, we specialize in delivering world-class software development solutions. If you’re attempting to unveil a groundbreaking innovation in telehealth, then we’d love to speak with you.
Do you want to learn more about how we can help? If so, then you’ve come to the right place. Contact us today to speak to a member of our team.
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