Telehealth for Neurology: An All-Around Overview
With the 17-year experience in healthcare software development, ScienceSoft is fully equipped to design and implement telemedicine software, including solutions for neurology.
Telemedicine for Neurology: the Essence
Teleneurology uses audiovisual communication, store-and-forward features, remote patient monitoring to help patients manage chronic neurological diseases and recover from neurological injuries. Via telehealth, neurologists can consult remote emergency care teams on the treatment of acute conditions.
By 2025, demand for neurologists will exceed supply by 19%. Teleneurology helps mitigate this issue by optimizing neurologists’ schedules, decreasing time spent for administrative tasks, promoting self-management of neurological diseases without compromising the quality of care.
The general architecture of a teleneurology application includes the following key elements:
App for medical staff
For neurologists, neurological care nurses, psychologists, physiotherapists, occupational and speech therapists, etc.
- Scheduling and conducting online appointments and exams (including mental state, coordination, sensory systems, reflexes, etc.).
- Managing patients’ treatment plan, medication, schedule physical, speech, and other therapy sessions.
- Controlling patients’ vitals and symptoms for the recovery process (of post-surgery patients) or disease progression monitoring.
- Consulting with other doctors.
App for patients
- Requesting and having online appointments with a neurological care specialist, scheduling therapy sessions and requesting lifestyle counseling.
- Tracking symptoms, moods and vitals in the app.
- Viewing self-help guides (e.g., on tremor mitigation)
- Messaging a doctor for guidance on symptoms alleviation (e.g., tingling), medication side effects management, etc.
Video streaming server
Providing real-time video conferencing functionality to neurological care specialists and their patients.
Cloud data storage and processing module
- Collecting and handling patients’ information (e.g., medication intake log, physical and speech therapy sessions recordings, symptoms).
- Storing neurological care specialists’ schedules and contacts, self-help information base, appointment recordings, etc.
Admin web panel
For hospital or neurological center supervisors, administrators.
- Viewing the list of current app users, managing patient and medical staff access to the telehealth app.
- Managing neurologists’ schedule.
- Adding and updating patient self-help guides, etc.
Based on ScienceSoft’s 17-year experience in healthcare IT, our experts outlined the key teleneurology software functionality requested by our customers.
Online consultations and therapeutic sessions
- Video appointments’ scheduling (by neurologists, nurses, physiotherapists or patients) and conducting.
- Recording of an online appointment available to a neurologist and a patient.
- Instant doctor-patient text messaging (e.g., to advise on medication side effects, new disease symptoms alleviation, swelling of incisions).
- File sharing between a neurologist and a patient (e.g., photos of incisions, MRI scans acquired from third-party imaging providers).
- Real-time rehabilitation sessions with a neurologist, occupational therapist, etc.
- Online social support groups for neurological patients.
- Lifestyle counseling sessions about habits decreasing the risk of complications (e.g., for patients recovering from a stroke) or slowing the disease progression (e.g., for Alzheimer's disease).
Patient assessment and monitoring (for medical staff)
- In-app access to patient profiles with medical records.
- Templates of neurological exam checklists tailored for various diseases (e.g., assessment of speed, fluency of movement of the head, eyes, lips, limbs).
- Dashboards with patients’ health improvements based on the appointments’ records.
- Remote monitoring of outpatients (e.g., recovering from brain trauma, stroke) supported by connected medical devices or sensors.
Chronic neurological disease management and self-help (for patients)
- Log of symptoms (nausea, hallucinations, etc.) and vitals (e.g., blood pressure, heart rate) available for a doctor for further disease management assessment.
- Self-help guides (e.g., to mitigate tremor, balance issues, disrupted sleep), diet guides and pre-visit instructions (e.g., home environment adjustment for posture assessment).
- Collections of disease-specific physical and mental exercise videos (e.g., for alleviating Tourette syndrome tics, coping with dementia).
Patient treatment and medication management
- Template-based treatment plan creation.
- In-app medication prescription and refill.
- Medication intake log and reminders (for patients).
- Follow-up visits or patient polls to monitor potential medication side effects, allergies and drug interactions.
- Emergency teleconsultations for remote healthcare teams in hospitals lacking an on-site neurologist to help patients with acute stroke, spinal cord traumas, etc.
- In-app tPA dosage calculation for emergency care (ischemic stroke, transient ischemic attack).
- AI-based detection of symptom patterns (e.g., attention deficit and weaker memory due to lack of sleep, escalated tremor due to unsystematic medication intake).
- Alerts to neurologists and patients in case of abnormal patient vitals.
- Comparative analysis of patient cases with the same neurological condition for further research of its symptoms and treatment.
Insurance and billing
- Personal insurance information (for patients).
- Patient eligibility check and insurance verification (for medical staff).
- In-app payment gateway (working with a card, Apple Pay/Google Pay, etc.) for automated payment for the online neurological appointments not covered by insurance (for patients).
Security and compliance
- End-to-end data encryption (for ePHI, video appointments recordings, etc.).
- Application access and identity management.
- Multi-factor authentication for teleneurology app users (patients and medical staff).
- HIPAA and HITECH compliance.
We recommend integrating the telehealth neurology application with the following medical software and hardware to achieve patient data consistency and integrity for efficient neurological care delivery:
EHR or EMR system
to provide the neurologist with the 360-degree patient view and log the appointments and their results in EHR for billing purposes. Furthermore, multiple integrations can go via EHR: with insurance verification, e-prescribing, accounting and billing software, payment gateway, etc.
Smart devices or sensors
to gather patients’ vitals (e.g., measuring a heart rate during rehabilitation sessions, scanning range of joints’ movement at routine online appointments) and send them to the teleneurology app for further storing, analysis and identification of abnormalities.
Medical imaging software
to provide neurologists with direct access to medical images (e.g., MRI or CT scans) for faster case assessment and, if necessary, neurological surgery planning.
Laboratory information system
to enable neurologists to access patients’ test results (blood glucose, general blood analysis, etc.).
Being an experienced telehealth software consulting partner, ScienceSoft coined the following factors that define efficiency of teleneurology software:
Simple UI layout, clear interface including voice navigation
to enable patients (e.g., with degraded fine motor skills, short attention span) to use the app and get necessary digital neurological care.
Cross-platform compatibility and mobile optimization
to ensure your teleneurology app can be accessed on various devices (iOS or Android-based smartphones and tablets, laptops, PCs) without disruptions and be properly used by patients regardless of their devices’ screen resolution.
Fast response time of the app
for fast loading of the app’s elements (e.g., symptoms log, appointments scheduling) to ensure streamlined care delivery.
Teleneurology app investments start from $150,000 and highly depend on the necessary functionality set. For example, such features as remote patient monitoring enabled by biosensors or connected devices will increase the development investments. On average, a teleneurology application may reach 100% ROI within 6 months.
Key financial outcomes
- Decreased length of patient stay in the hospital and ancillary costs.
- Increased visit attendance (for regular appointments of people with chronic neurological conditions).
- Reduced hospitalizations related to chronic neurological diseases due to continuous health monitoring and early complications identification.
- Reduced re-admission rate.
Examples of Teleneurology Use
- Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) offers comprehensive telestroke and teleneurology programs to community hospitals. Now, over 95% of consultation requests are answered within five minutes. Clinicians in remote hospitals report that MGH neurologists’ consultations improve decision-making confidence and allow treating 71%-88% of telestroke patients locally.
- In Italy, the Carlo Besta Neurological Institute implemented a telemedicine program for patients with Parkinson’s syndrome during the rise of the COVID-19 pandemic. It provided video consultations with experienced neurologists and allowed doctors to issue an online password-encrypted medical report after the appointment. In 7 weeks after the program started, 54.6% of scheduled visits were replaced with telehealth consultations.
Opting for custom teleneurology app development is reasonable if your healthcare organization plans to:
- Add a rehabilitation module (including VR-enabled rehabilitation) to the teleneurology app to facilitate patient rehabilitation, restore postural balance and motor skills (e.g., for acute stroke, brain injuries).
- Enable VR-based surgery planning using 3D models created from patient MRI or ultrasounds (for neurological centers handling patients with exacerbations transported from rural hospitals, neurological surgery medical training, etc.).
- Automate patient assessment by introducing software as a medical device functionality to the app, like the image-based assessment of patient balance, range of limbs’ movement assessment, or speech assessment based on the speech recognition technology (requires FDA registration of the app).
- Adding in-app treatment programs of any type, including your proprietary programs, e.g., attention-improving therapy, anxiety relief treatment, motor skills exercises, memory training, reminiscing therapy (may require FDA registration of the app).
- Implement AI for patient-facing chatbots and neurological symptoms checkers, etc.
ScienceSoft’s Healthcare IT Consultant Alena Nikuliak shares her experience:
"To help chronic disease patients and neurological staff stay in touch without substantial time expenses, I suggest our customers augment custom teleneurology software with AI chatbots. Chatbots can increase the availability of care by providing informational support, collecting patients’ health data and symptoms, and improving patient engagement."
Since 1989, ScienceSoft has been accumulating software development expertise and can help you create a robust telemedicine solution for neurology according to ISO 13485.
Teleneurology application consulting
- Eliciting teleneurology app requirements and elaborating on its features.
- Choosing an optimal tech stack and designing an architecture.
- Creating a teleneurology app implementation roadmap.
- Designing integrations with required healthcare software (e.g., EHR).
- Calculating necessary investments and a payback period.
- Assessing potential app development risks and drawing up a risk mitigation plan.
Teleneurology application implementation
- Gathering requirements for a teleneurology app.
- Feature mapping and prioritization.
- Designing UX and UI of the app.
- Designing a teleneurology app architecture.
- Developing and testing the teleneurology app.
- Designing integrations and integrating your teleneurology app with other apps (e.g., EHR).
- Supporting the application (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 international IT consulting and software development company. Delivering healthcare IT solutions for 17 years and being ISO 13485 certified, ScienceSoft has acquired a deep understanding of telemedicine software to provide quality teleneurology application consulting and development services.