Patients feel that they aren’t getting quality care from their physicians. They are being incorrectly diagnosed because they simply aren’t getting more than 15-minutes with their physicians. Their questions aren’t being answered, but instead being directed towards nurses. Patients are feeling more and more like Dorothy from the Wizard of Oz, on a journey to the Emerald City to find the Wizard and ask the for help. This journey can be timely and costly for some, especially if traveling from rural areas, and once these patients arrive to the Emerald City, it could take a while until the Wizard is available.
What if there was something that would allow patients to communicate easier and quicker with physicians?
Not only that, but what if there was something that also allowed physicians to constantly be learning and having open discussions with other industry leaders? That something is telemedicine.
Telemedicine is not an idea coming out of left field, the demand for it existed way before its advancement. Patients can’t always or do not always want to go into cities, or doctors who yearned for consulting a specialist colleague, they all wished for something to make their lives easier. In the foreseeable future, telemedicine won’t be a label anymore, but rather just another ordinary way for physicians and patients to communicate.
Here is a list of 5 top telemedicine solutions bringing patients and doctors closer to each other:
San Francisco-based Doctor on Demand supported by Google offers access to more than a thousand board-certified physicians throughout the United States to more than a million registered users. According to The New York Times, its app has been downloaded a few million times since it was introduced in late 2013. Doctor on Demand can treat 90 percent of the conditions most commonly seen in the ER and urgent care, dramatically lowering health care costs.
No matter whether you want to quit smoking, need some medical advice because your kid swallowed a toy animal or you suffer from diabetes – you can turn to Doctor on Demand services any time of the day with a maximum 5 minutes waiting time. Moreover, it offers entire health care plans for huge multinational companies and US citizens without health insurance can also use the service.
Impressive numbers fascinate the visitors of the Health Tap website. Their telehealth service established in 2010 already answered 6.3 billion health-related queries, employs 108,000 medical professionals and saved 24,489 lives. They offer a special HealthTap SOS system that gives various first respondent organizations immediate access to physicians when a disaster happens somewhere in the world.
HealthTap also operates a health operating system for medical facilities worldwide, the so-called HOPESTM, which aims to simplify medical administration. Every patient gets one, unified Personal Health Record, where their entire medical history, their test results, and other relevant patient data is stored. Moreover, the company introduced its “Dr. AI” service, which aims to utilize HealthTap’s existing database for answering simpler medical questions and refer patients to the right level of care in case there is a more complex medical issue in question.
The Boston-based telemedicine company established in 2006 offers complete telehealth services to a wide range of customers. The mobile and web service connects doctors with patients for live, on-demand video visits over the internet and handles all the administration, security, and record keeping that modern healthcare requires.
American Well’s mission is to improve access to quality care and make it more affordable and transparent for every actor in the healthcare field. The company has been cooperating with Cleveland Clinic, one of the top ranked hospitals regarding digital health solutions, as its telehealth network vendor since September of 2014.
The New York-based company was established in 2002 and it is the largest telehealth platform in the United States. Teladoc is a real success story: it was listed 27th on MIT Technology Review‘s list of the “50 Smartest Companies” in 2015. More than 17 million people used its services as members and more than 1.6 million visits were carried out. The professional network consists of more than 3,600 licensed healthcare professionals who have 20 years of experience on average.
Teladoc has approximately a 10-minute response time before patients are connected with a physician. Approximately 92 percent of patients that use Teladoc have their issues resolved, which shows an efficient platform and effective medical professionals participating in it. We need more services like this!
As you can easily detect if you have a skin problem, and smartphones coupled with super-fast internet connection make it easy to send pictures or footage anywhere, telehealth solutions appeared naturally in dermatology. iDoc24 offers you to connect you to a dermatologist in under 24 hours who can give you advise you what to do with your skin problem.
The start-up established in 2014 had already more than 7,000 cases submitted from all over the world from countries such as Sweden, Chile, China, Australia, and Ghana. Their youngest users have been 3 days old and the oldest 93 years old. I believe such dermatology solutions will thrive in the future, since as iDoc24 found 70 percent of all their reviewed cases could be self-treated and they advised the patient to undertake further tests in all the remaining 30 percent of cases. It is a win-win for everyone: patients do not have to wait in crowded waiting rooms for an exam, while dermatologists can deal with the easier cases in shorter time online.
All the advancements within the healthcare industry are so fascinating. What is also fascinating, is even though the technology for these advancements exists, healthcare organizations are still using paper documents such as; medical records, lab results, and discharge instructions/summaries when they don't need to be. There is software available to make paper patient records electronic (such as Epic), as well as software that can automate document handling of incoming faxes and route/index data based on organizational demands.
About the author: Tera Ogorzalek
As a designer of experiences, Tera strives to bridge the gap between the user's needs, the physical world, and innovative technology by creating intuitive and engaging cross-channel experiences. By gaining valuable insight from people's motivations, behaviors, and attitudes, she enjoys analyzing findings to quickly iterate on ideas to help develop amazing products and experiences that meet real human needs--needs that they may never have thought about. She is an experienced Creative Leader who has a strong record of building and implementing successful branding, digital marketing, and eCommerce strategic plans. Tera has first-hand experience with starting and leading programs that have substantially increased awareness and driven large growth in eCommerce, UX, Web/App Design, and Digital Marketing for leading brands. She has a strong talent for understanding "the big picture" and leading large diversified and cross-functional teams in a large corporate setting as well as a fast paced, nimble and agile startup environment.