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Panther is a web-based software designed to help lawyers, astrologers, tutors, fitness coaches and physicians build an online consultation marketplace. Businesses can connect clients with experts via audio or video conferencing, s...Read more about Panther
SpindleX is an AI tool developed by Synapsica that helps radiologists in automating the tasks involved in report generation of stress x-ray of spine. It automatically identifies key morphological features and accurately segments v...Read more about SpindleX
With over 20,000 medical professionals across the platform, Medici is the fastest way to see your patients virtually. A HIPAA-compliant mobile telehealth solution, Medici is designed to connect providers to their patients securely...Read more about Medici
TigerConnect is a HIPAA-compliant care collaboration and patient engagement solution which helps healthcare organizations streamline communication across patients, providers, and ambulatory facilities. TigerConnect enables medical...Read more about TigerConnect
AdvancedMD offers a fully unified suite of patient-focused technologies called AdvancedMD @home. This patient engagement collection makes it easier for you to create a robust and scalable practice to treat patients when and where ...Read more about AdvancedMD Telemedicine
DrChrono’s iPad and iPhone compatible EHR and medical billing platform allows medical practices and healthcare providers to manage patient intake, patient care, clinical charting, billing and revenue cycle management. It includes ...Read more about DrChrono
Kareo is a Web-based EHR, medical billing, and practice management used by thousands of physicians across the United States. This system suits small practices and billing companies. With Kareo, practices can schedule patients, con...Read more about Kareo Telehealth
NextGen Virtual Visits
NextGen Virtual Visits
NextGen Healthcare offers NextGen Virtual VisitsTM, a unified, cloud-based platform that enables the user experience to follow the same intuitive workflow on web, iOS, and Android devices. The platform provides HIPAA-compliant, se...Read more about NextGen Virtual Visits
athenahealth, recently ranked #1 by 2022 Best in KLAS for athenaClinials Ambulatory EMR for 11-75 physicians and athenaIDX practice management, provides cloud-based services for electronic health records (EHR), revenue cycle manag...Read more about athenaOne
CharmHealth is a MU certified, cloud-based EHR, Practice Management and Medical Billing solution that helps healthcare organizations ranging from large multi-specialty groups to small independent medical offices function efficient...Read more about CharmHealth
Designed to increase patient access to your care, SynziMD helps physicians deliver telehealth via HIPAA-compliant video and messaging. SynziMD's virtual care platform helps physician groups connect with patients without any additi...Read more about Synzi
PrognoCIS EHR and PrognoCIS Telemedicine have earned a reputation for fast, flexible individual provider workflow. The software package offers a full suite of highly desirable features and functions. PrognoCIS provides a cloud-bas...Read more about PrognoCIS
Compulink Healthcare Solutions
Compulink Healthcare Solutions
Compulink’s Advantage SMART Practice® is an all-in-one database EHR solution for specialty practices such as optometry, ophthalmology, orthopaedics, ENT, mental health, podiatry, and more. Available cloud-based or server, Advantag...Read more about Compulink Healthcare Solutions
Launch your Telemedicine program today with MendFree. Mend is a cloud-based healthcare communication solution that enables patients and providers to connect and share files, messages, assessments, photos and data. Users and prov...Read more about Mend
CareCloud Inc. offers an integrated electronic health recording (EHR) solution–Charts–that provides collective benefits of EMR, practice management and medical billing services. Charts helps physicians to streamline clinical opera...Read more about CareCloud
ModMed, also known as Modernizing Medicine, offers an integrated telehealth platform within its specialty-specific EHR system, EMA. Called modmed Telehealth, it offers synchronous audio and video telemedicine capabilities for spec...Read more about ModMed
ClinicalWorks, an electronic health record (EHR) and practice management solution, provides technology for every step of the patient care delivery process. Clinicians access features including patient engagement, Telehealth, custo...Read more about eClinicalWorks
RXNT’s cloud-based, ONC-certified medical software—Billing, Practice Management, EHR, and more—improves clinical outcomes & revenue cycle management. Simple, transparent pricing includes free setup and training, free data transfer...Read more about RXNT
WiCis Telehealth and Telemedicine Monitoring is a HIPAA-compliant solution that expands the scope of healthcare to uncharted locations in the world and offers video-conferencing, and live dashboards. In addition, practices can whi...Read more about WiCis CareFlows
Office Practicum by Connexin Software was built by physicians to provide an integrated electronic health record (EHR) and practice management solution. The system offers appointment scheduling, clinical documentation management, c...Read more about Office Practicum
Popular Telemedicine Comparisons
Buyers GuideLast Updated: November 17, 2022
What is Telemedicine software?
Telemedicine software is any technology that enables medical providers to diagnose or treat patients remotely using secure telecommunications tools like video chats, phone, email, etc.
It’s easy to see why you should start offering telemedicine services at your practice, but it can be hard to evaluate software solutions. Do you want a system that integrates with Electronic Medical Records (EMRs)? How do you make sure it’s HIPAA-compliant? What pricing model aligns with your budget? What the heck is a virtual waiting room?
In this buyers guide, we’ll help you answer all of these questions and more so you can offer virtual consultations through a new system as soon as possible.
Here's what we'll cover:
- Telehealth vs. Telemedicine
- Telemedicine Use Cases and Definition
- Telemedicine Software Benefits
- Common Functionality of Telemedicine Software
- Telemedicine EMRs vs. Stand-Alone Platforms
- Key Considerations
Telehealth vs. Telemedicine
The words "telehealth" and "telemedicine" are very often used interchangeably, but there is a key difference that users should be aware of.
Telemedicine specifically covers all remote tools and processes that allow doctors to see and treat patients remotely. It only refers to clinical services.
Telehealth, on the other hand, includes all remote clinical and non-clinical services. For example, doctors can use telehealth to attend remote administrative meetings and participate in continued medical education.
To summarize, telemedicine is a type of telehealth, but not all telehealth is telemedicine.
Telemedicine Use Cases and Definition
Before we start talking about software, we need to address our use of the term "telemedicine," since it can refer to a variety of scenarios where health care services and information are delivered through technology, including the following examples:
Though all of these can be telemedicine use cases, most software solutions focus on facilitating virtual care between patients and physicians through video conferencing and secure messaging. In order to align our Buyer’s Guide with the health IT market, we’ll also be referring to telemedicine software as technology to enable remote patient-physician interactions through online video and messages.
Telemedicine Software Benefits
In a Gartner report (which is available to Gartner clients), analysts predict that one-quarter of all care in the U.S. will be delivered virtually by 2020. While adoption rates may not rise quite that quickly in your part of the country, it’s clear that there’s increasing demand for virtual care, and it can only benefit your practice if you start incorporating telemedicine software sooner rather than later.
In a Software Advice survey of U.S. patients who have never participated in a telemedical visit, 75 percent tell us they are at least "moderately interested" in having a video consultation instead of an in-person visit for a minor health issue, such as a rash or cold symptoms.
Because industry experts and patients both see value in this tech, you have a good chance of increasing revenue after implementing it. For example, you can expand your patient panel by seeing patients who live in rural areas and extend your office hours without adding staff or overhead costs.
In addition to the financial benefits, there are clinical advantages to practicing telemedicine. Because it’s more convenient for patients to schedule a telemedicine appointment, they are more likely to seek treatment from a primary care physician or specialist. The earlier you can detect a health issue, the better chance a patient has of responding favorably to the treatment plan.
Here are some additional advantages from our report, "Telemedicine Benefits Small Practices Can Capitalize On":
Common Functionality of Telemedicine Software
You can’t just open a Skype account and expect it to meet your needs for virtual care delivery. In addition to EMR integration (which we’ll cover in detail in the next section), a telemedicine platform should offer many of these functionalities:
|Encryption/security protocols||Data security features, such as encryption, make it possible to keep sensitive patient data safe and private for all your online consultations.|
|Video conferencing||Enables face-to-face interactions on a computer or mobile device with high quality video and audio. Some solutions also allow screen sharing and multiway video so third parties (such as caregivers or translators) can also participate in a virtual consultation.|
|Instant message chat||Allows doctors to exchange text-based messages with patients in real time before, during or after an appointment.|
|Appointment setting||Patients are able to schedule telemedical appointments themselves by logging onto the system and selecting an available time slot from a calendar provided by your staff.|
|Billing||Collect insurance information and process payments for each encounter.|
|Virtual waiting room||A customizable site that allows patients to wait for a digital appointment to begin. You can add pictures or videos for patients to see while they stand by.|
|Clinical documentation||Document patient encounters with digital notes and/or charts.|
|E-prescribing||Create and send prescriptions to a patient’s pharmacy of choice.|
Telemedicine EMRs vs. Stand-Alone Platforms
You have two main choices when it comes to telemedicine software: a stand-alone platform or an EMR suite that includes telemedicine functions in addition to other applications, such as accounting or a patient portal.
The easiest way to figure out which option is best for you is to determine whether it’s the right time to invest in a new EMR.
If so, it makes sense to choose a system that already has telemedicine functions built-in. Maybe you’ve been planning on replacing your current EMR, or perhaps you’re starting a new practice. Either way, it shouldn’t be tough to build a shortlist of solutions that fit the bill.
A growing number of EMR vendors are acquiring or partnering with companies that exclusively focus on facilitating telemedicine services. As a result, it’s much easier to use a single system for all your clinical services and documentation needs without having to do duplicate data entry.
Pricing for this kind of setup is significantly different from vendor to vendor. Cost estimates will largely depend on the size of your practice and how many applications you want to include in your software suite.
Since it’s possible to update health records seamlessly, telemedicine-enabled EMRs are best for practices that plan to offer virtual consultations to existing patients. However, even though that’s the desirable route, it doesn’t totally exclude practices hoping to attract new patients online through the telemedicine software (more details about that scenario below).
Examples of telemedicine EMRs:
Practitioners who are happy with their current EMR solution can always check with their vendor to see if the company now offers a telemedicine module or easily integrates with a third-party telemedicine solution. Keep in mind additional fees may apply for the added module.
The alternative is investing in a stand-alone telemedicine platform that may not interface with your EMR. That’s totally OK in many cases. Most stand-alone platforms allow you to schedule, bill and request medical histories from patients, so you don’t need an integrated EMR or practice management system for any of that.
Some stand-alone platforms even attract patients for you. Here’s how it works: Patients sign up for a virtual appointment with the first available doctor on the telemedicine platform and then they’re matched with you or another provider on the same platform. In this model, practitioners serve as independent contractors who are paid a percentage of whatever the patient pays per visit.
That service is optional for some stand-alone telemedicine systems, so the cost of ownership will again vary significantly from vendor to vendor. However, many systems charge a monthly subscription fee per physician for access to the software.
Examples of stand-alone telemedicine software:
- American Well
- Doctor on Demand
Here are some important factors to think about before you implement a telemedicine solution:
HIPAA compliance. The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) is a series of mandates that protect patient records against unauthorized access. You’re off to a good start if you’re evaluating telemedicine solutions that have the security protocols we described in our features table above, but that’s just the first step to achieving HIPAA compliance. In order to safeguard patient privacy and security while abiding by the law, you need to conduct a risk assessment. That is an overview of your current security measures and potential vulnerabilities. You can find out how to put together a risk assessment here.
Regulatory requirements. Telemedicine regulations are still being worked out in legislatures across the country. As health IT writer Cathy Reisenwitz recommends, "you may want to look into resources like the ATA State Telemedicine Legislative & Regulatory Trackers for updates on telemedicine policy. Regulations vary by state, so you need to research how insurance companies cover telehealth visits in your area."