Guide to Telemedicine in Acute Care: Use Cases, Benefits, Implementation
ScienceSoft brings in 17-year expertise in healthcare software development to create telemedicine applications for remote acute care delivery.
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 access to care and patient outcomes due to fast care delivery.
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.
EHR, medical imaging software, laboratory information software, connected medical devices, practice management software.
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.
Video streaming server
Real-time audiovisual communication and messaging between an on-site emergency care team and remote acute care specialists.
Cloud data storage and processing module
Storage and analysis of patient information, acute treatment information, data generated by smart medical devices, consultations’ recordings, etc.
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).
ScienceSoft’s Healthcare IT Consultant Alena Nikuliak shares how to comply with security standards without compromising patient health:
"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."
Acute care telemedicine systems need to provide medical staff with various structured and analyzed patient data for patient diagnostics and treatment. To get thtis all-around patient information, ScienceSoft's consultants recommend integrating telehealth applications with the following systems:
- EHR or EMR – to enable access of acute care consultants and ER staff to patients’ medical history, chronic conditions, allergies, etc.; automatic upload of patients’ data to the remote acute center’s EHR for billing, diagnosing, treatment consultations, etc.
- Medical imaging software and laboratory software (LIS) – to provide acute care consultants with access to patients’ medical images and lab test results for diagnosing and offering treatment options. Medical images can be transferred to the cloud server for image analysis or manual analysis by acute care specialists using DICOM-viewers on the acute care hub side.
- Connected hospital devices or sensors – to enable acute care specialists and an emergency care team to track relevant patient vitals in real time and get data for diagnosing, treatment, complications identification, etc.
- Practice management system – to enable access of on-site teams to the schedules of acute care center specialists, etc.
Being a healthcare IT consulting and software development company since 2005, ScienceSoft identified essential factors for a value-bringing acute care telehealth solution.
Resilient audiovisual communication – to enable smooth consultations between an on-site emergency care team and remote acute care specialists (e.g., automatically switching to audio-only communication in case of internet connection disruptions).
Reliable integrations with required healthcare IT systems – to enable an integrated patient view for acute care specialists and facilitate their access to all needed patient data to provide fast and efficient consultancy on acute condition treatment.
According to the EY research, around 90% of hospital decision makers are interested in expanding budgets related to clinician-to-clinician acute telemedicine and plan to increase the investments by 5%-10% to manage care delivery through the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond.
The implementation of acute care telehealth brings the following financial benefits:
Expanded service coverage due to the ability to deliver acute care to remote locations.
Improved staff performance due to optimized workload (less time spent per patient, ability to provide diagnosing and treatment assistance to a larger amount of patients per day).
Efficient bed allocation in the acute care hospital (only critical patients are transferred).
Examples of Telemedicine Use in Acute Care
- In 2020, a Brazilian hospital implemented a tele-ICU program to remotely monitor patients diagnosed with COVID-19. The system proved to be effective – tele-ICU patients’ mortality level was lower than the level for in-hospital patients.
- Rochester Regional Health implemented telehealth as a part of its ICU services and offered remote consulting services for the doctors working at their hospitals’ ICUs and surgical ICUs. The solution helped reduce the cost of healthcare, increase patient access to care, and improve patient outcomes.
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 automated alerting on patient’s health state changes, etc.
ScienceSoft has 17+ years of experience in healthcare software consulting and development to design and implement tailored acute care telemedicine software.
Acute care telehealth consulting services
Our team will:
- Analyze your acute telehealth needs.
- Suggest, elaborate on and prioritize acute care telehealth software features.
- Design high-level software architecture and choose a tech stack.
- Create an implementation roadmap.
- Plan integrations with EHR/EMR, LIS, medical imaging software, etc., both on your side and on the side of originating hospitals.
- Ensure knowledge transfer to the development team and consulting support during the implementation stage.
Implementation of acute care telehealth solution
What we offer:
- Needs analysis and requirements elicitation for acute care telehealth software.
- Planning and prioritization of telehealth solution features for urgent care delivery.
- Telehealth software architecture design and selection of a cost-effective tech stack.
- Planning of sleek UX for medical staff and creating attractive UI design.
- Development and testing of acute care telehealth software.
- Integrating acute telehealth software with required healthcare IT systems (EHR, LIS, etc.) both on your side and the side of originating hospitals.
- After-launch support of acute care telehealth software and staff training (if required).
ScienceSoft's Customers Say
We engaged ScienceSoft to build an Android telehealth app for various medical specialties that complements our web-based platform for 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.
Justin Turner, CTO, Chiron Health
ScienceSoft is a US-headquartered IT consulting and software development vendor with 33 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.