Guide to Custom Telemedicine in Acute Care
Use Cases, Benefits, Implementation
ScienceSoft brings 18 years of expertise in healthcare software development to create telemedicine applications for remote acute care delivery.
Acute Care Telemedicine in Brief
Telehealth in urgent care delivery connects emergency care teams with remote acute care professionals (e.g., cardiac or trauma surgeons, vascular neurologists, intensivists) for diagnostic and treatment assistance. It helps improve patient outcomes due to fast care delivery. Custom telemedicine software can greatly benefit acute care specialists by providing tailored functionalities to support accurate remote diagnosing, treatment planning, and patient monitoring. It enhances clinical efficiency, streamlines workflows, and ultimately leads to better treatment results in the dynamic and time-sensitive environment of acute care.
- Architecture: Apps for on-site and remote care teams, an admin web panel; a cloud server with a video streaming server, and a data storage and processing module.
- Integrations: EHR, medical imaging software, laboratory information software, connected medical devices, and practice management software.
Read this guide created by ScienceSoft’s seasoned healthcare IT consultants to get practical advice on acute care telehealth app development or implementation.
The Architecture of Acute Care Telehealth Software
At the core of the telehealth platform for acute care lies a cloud server with a data storage and processing module and a video streaming server. The former stores and enables analysis of patient health data, the data generated by smart medical devices, video call recordings, etc. The latter allows on-site emergency care teams and remote acute care specialists to communicate using video, audio, and instant messaging.
Acute care telemedicine software is also likely to include the following three user-facing modules:
App for the on-site emergency care team
- On-demand acute care consultations in real-time via videoconferencing, messages, etc.
- Sharing medical images, lab tests with an acute care consultant.
- Viewing and editing patient information, treatment plan, etc.
App for remote acute care specialists
- Holding real-time examinations, assessments, and consultations.
- Accessing patients’ lab results, medical images, and health parameters for evaluation and treatment planning.
- Viewing and editing patient information, treatment plans, etc.
Admin web panel
(for solution administrators)
- Managing application access by the medical staff from originating healthcare organizations and a remote acute care hub.
- Viewing and assigning consultation requests to acute care specialists.
- Viewing the list of acute care patients and their records for further billing purposes.
Telemedicine in Acute Care: Key Functionality
At ScienceSoft, we plan features of telehealth software for acute care according to the needs of healthcare organizations. Here, we present a list of commonly requested telemedicine features for remote acute care delivery.
Real-time acute care coordination
- (for an on-site emergency care team) Online requesting of an acute care consultation.
- Alerts to on-duty remote acute care specialists on incoming consultation requests.
- Emergency acute care consultations via videoconferencing and messaging.
- (for psychiatric emergencies) Direct consultations between a patient and a remote specialist with an emergency care specialist’s supervision.
- Creation of custom or template-based patient treatment plans.
- Follow-up consultations and patient examinations (e.g., to identify treatment progress, adjust treatment, monitor fracture healing).
Analytics for diagnostics and treatment of acute patients
- Analytics of patients’ vitals collected by connected medical devices.
- AI-based medical images analytics to help with diagnosing (e.g., stroke type identification).
- AI-based support for acute care clinical decisions (e.g., on patient treatment).
Tele-ICU patient monitoring
- Dashboard for intensivists with real-time patient health parameters.
- Video and audio monitoring of patients in remote ICU units.
- Alerts for intensivists in case of patients’ abnormal health parameters.
Patient and treatment data storage and access
- (for remote acute care specialists) In-app access to a patient's record featuring medical history, medical images (e.g., MRI, CT, ECG scans) and lab tests results.
- View of a patient’s real-time health parameters collected by hospital smart medical devices in the acute care department.
- View of teleconsultations’ recordings for on-site and remote care teams.
Patient data security
- Identity management and multi-factor authentication for acute care medical staff.
- Encryption of video, audio, message-based consultations with remote acute care specialists.
- Role-based access to patients’ PHIs and editing rights.
- HIPAA, HITECH, FDA regulations compliance.
Training of emergency care teams
- Remote supervision by expert surgeons for less experienced doctors providing acute care (e.g., for teaching hospitals).
- Remote acute care training for emergency care teams from partnering hospitals (e.g., demonstration of novel surgery techniques).
- VR-based surgery training for acute conditions (e.g., hemorrhagic stroke).
How can you ensure the security of a telemedicine app for acute care?
"Some healthcare organizations are worried that patient data encryption can slow down the work of their acute care telemedicine app, and delays can affect patient state. At-rest encryption on the application level can indeed affect the app’s performance negatively. That’s why ScienceSoft uses file-level or block-level encryption when developing acute care telehealth apps for our customers. As for in-transit encryption, it doesn’t affect app performance in a way for users to notice."
Important Integrations for Telemedicine in Urgent Care
To get comprehensive patient data for diagnostics and treatment, we recommend integrating telehealth applications with the following systems:
EHR or EMR
- To access to patients’ medical history, chronic conditions, allergies, etc.
To automatically upload patients’ data to the EHR of a remote acute center for billing, diagnosing, treatment consultations, etc.
Medical imaging software and laboratory software (LIS)
- To access to patients’ medical images and lab test results for diagnosis and treatment.
- To transfer medical images to the image analysis software or a DICOM viewer on the remote acute care hub’s side.
Connected hospital devices or sensors
- To track relevant patient vitals in real-time to get data for diagnosis, treatment, complications identification, etc.
Practice management system
- For on-site teams to access the schedules of acute care center specialists, etc.
How to Build Acute Care Telehealth Software
Creating custom telemedicine software for urgent care requires a well-defined development roadmap to ensure the delivery of an efficient and accurate remote care solution. At ScienceSoft, we understand the importance of detailed planning and outline the key steps in our development process below:
Conducting an in-depth analysis to understand the specific challenges of the acute care domain alongside your unique needs.
Designing a tailored set of features (e.g., real-time patient monitoring, automated emergency alerts, AI-powered case prioritization), defining the solution’s architecture design and technology stack.
Planning the project (including its scope, deliverables, KPIs, timeline, and budget) for effective resource allocation and timely solution delivery.
Developing the urgent care telehealth software: building modules for acute patient triage, critical care communication, remote monitoring, etc.
Conducting rigorous testing and QA, ensuring the solution’s compliance with relevant regulations and standards, such as AAAHC, AMA, and ATA telemedicine practice guidelines, HIPAA, and FDA regulations.
Migrating the data from legacy systems to the new acute care telehealth solution.
Integrating the telehealth software with the necessary internal and third-party systems used in acute care (e.g., emergency medical dispatch systems, laboratory information systems) and smart medical devices (e.g., digital stethoscopes, blood pressure monitors, pulse oximeters) for seamless data exchange.
Training healthcare personnel on using the software for efficient patient management, emergency response, and critical care workflow optimization.
Keeping the software up-to-date and flawlessly working by providing continuous support and maintenance services.
Factors Defining Success of an Acute Telehealth Solution
In software development since 1989, ScienceSoft defined the two key factors that affect the success of an acute care telehealth solution.
Resilient audio and video calls
To enable smooth consultations between an on-site emergency care team and remote acute care specialists, you need to implement resilience features (e.g., app automatically switches to audio-only communication in case of internet connection disruptions).
Full integration with the required healthcare IT systems and devices
To conduct fast and effective consultations on acute condition treatment, acute care specialists require a holistic view of patient data from various IT systems. In our award-winning RPM project, ScienceSoft integrated a telehealth app with Bluetooth sensors to measure patients’ vitals and monitor their condition.
Investments for an Acute Care Telehealth App
The cost of an acute care telehealth solution with core features like video, chat, file exchange, and EHR integration usually ranges from $150,000 to $200,000. The investments may increase to $300,000 for an advanced solution with integrated devices, AI functionality, etc.
Want to get a tailored cost calculation for your app?
Financial Benefits of Acute Care Telehealth Software
Expanded service coverage
due to the ability to deliver acute care to remote locations (Healthcare IT News).
Improved staff performance
due to optimized workload (i.e., less time spent per patient) and the ability to help more patients daily (Society of Critical Care Medicine).
Efficient bed allocation
in acute care hospitals due to the transfers of critical patients only (International Journal of Older People Nursing).
Enhanced quality of care
due to accessible telehealth-supported diagnosing and decreased complications (Elsevier).
Examples of Telemedicine Use in Acute Care
- SA Health, Australia, implemented a telehealth-based acute care platform to gather vital health information from stroke patients and provide virtual consultations. As a result, it reduced unnecessary hospital-to-hospital transfers by 72%.
- Massachusetts General Hospital offers comprehensive acute care programs to community hospitals. Now, over 95% of consultation requests are answered within five minutes. Clinicians in remote hospitals report that MGH consultations improve decision-making confidence and allow treating 71%-88% of emergency stroke patients locally.
SA Health, Australia, implemented a telehealth-based acute care platform to gather vital health information from stroke patients and provide virtual consultations. As a result, it reduced unnecessary hospital-to-hospital transfers by 72%.
Massachusetts General Hospital offers comprehensive acute care programs to community hospitals. Now, over 95% of consultation requests are answered within five minutes. Clinicians in remote hospitals report that MGH consultations improve decision-making confidence and allow treating 71%-88% of emergency stroke patients locally.
Why Opt for a Custom Urgent Care Telehealth Solution
When deciding on acute care telehealth software development, ScienceSoft's experts outline the following benefits of custom development:
Streamlined integration with required software (even legacy systems) of remote hospitals and emergency rooms for uninterrupted 24/7 creation and processing of acute care requests, smooth patient PHI exchange, etc. In one of our telehealth projects, we implemented APIs for secure integration with EHR / EMR, RIS, LIS to provide physicians with all necessary information at their fingertips.
Advanced diagnostics and treatment features like medical image analysis (e.g., to identify the type of stroke), analysis of data from connected medical devices or sensors for automation of alerts on a patient’s health state changes, etc.
Launch Your Acute Care Telehealth App with Healthcare IT Experts
With a track record of 100+ successful projects in the healthcare domain, ScienceSoft designs and implements acute care telemedicine software tailored to the needs of medical staff.
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Thanks to ScienceSoft’s practical healthcare IT expertise, we created a musculoskeletal therapy platform that can be fully customized and reflect the needs of each program member. I am excited to see AKLOS Health change the approach to physiotherapy and offer each member a truly bespoke experience that’s based in science.
We engaged ScienceSoft to build an Android app that complements our web-based platform for our patients. They advised and successfully lead the way from end to end through the technical challenges and considerations with development of the app. We have also engaged them to introduce a few enhancements to the app and would certainly consider ScienceSoft as a technology partner in further software development initiatives.
We are thankful for the meticulous and value-driven approach of ScienceSoft’s team. They created comprehensive project documentation, feature lists, and worked out thorough recommendations to help us improve the stability and performance of our solution. ScienceSoft’s project manager, business analyst, QA and software engineers were always friendly and ready to answer our questions or solve any ad-hoc issues. ScienceSoft proved to be a reliable vendor with a solid healthcare background, and we recommend them to everyone looking for a telehealth software development partner.
ScienceSoft is a US-headquartered IT consulting and software development vendor with 34 years of experience. Holding ISO 13485 certification, ScienceSoft advises on and develops robust telemedicine software for acute care according to regulations of the FDA and the Council of the European Union. Feel free to contact us and get more details about acute care telehealth solution development.