Telemedicine Apps for Primary Care
Features, Success Factors, Costs
Leveraging 18 years of experience in healthcare software development, ScienceSoft designs and develops custom telemedicine software for remote primary care.
Primary care telehealth enables physicians, ob-gyns, pediatricians, and other primary care specialists to provide consultations via video & audio calls and instant messaging. It helps patients get treatment for minor diseases, discuss their health and well-being, and visit behavioral therapy sessions remotely.
- Architecture: Telehealth software for primary care includes a cloud server, a patient app, an app for medical staff, and an admin panel.
- Integrations: Primary care telemedicine solutions usually integrate with EHR, LIS, medical imaging software, and practice management software.
In this guide, ScienceSoft describes how to implement a secure and efficient primary care telehealth application.
The Architecture of Primary Care Telemedicine Software
The core part of a telehealth platform for primary care is a cloud server with a data storage and processing module and a video streaming server. The cloud module collects and handles the history and recordings of primary and follow-up video appointments, messages, images shared by a patient, patient-generated data, and more. The video streaming server enables online audiovisual communication between the medical staff and patients.
Below, we describe other must-have modules for primary care telemedicine software:
App for patients or patients’ caregivers
- Scheduling and access to online medical appointments.
- Sending messages and images.
- Vitals and symptoms log.
- Self-help materials.
- Scheduling of offline screenings or tests and access to the results.
Admin web panel
Used by telehealth app admins, healthcare org’s administrators, etc.
- Access management for telehealth app users (e.g., add/remove a user, grant rights to edit patient data).
- Editing of general patient data.
- Management of doctors’ and nurses’ schedules, and more.
App for medical staff
- Online primary care appointments and messaging with patients.
- Treatment and medication plans.
- Consultations with other specialists (e.g., cardiologists, neurologists) within a healthcare org via texts/video.
The Functionality of Primary Care Telemedicine Software
ScienceSoft always adjusts telehealth software functionality to reflect the needs of your healthcare organization. Below, our experts share commonly requested telehealth software features for primary care.
- Initial patient survey or AI chatbot to identify the key symptoms for further examination.
- Scheduling initial and follow-up primary care appointments (for patients and doctors).
- Support of video or audio consultations.
- Support of consultations via patient-doctor messages (e.g., to discuss medication side effects) and image sharing (e.g., photo of eye infection).
- Consultations between doctors (e.g., a primary care physician and an endocrinologist).
- Patient geolocation identification to connect a patient with a doctor from the same state.
Medication and treatment management
- In-app treatment plan (created using templates for various conditions).
- Access to patients’ vitals and symptoms log, test results, etc., to monitor the treatment progress and schedule follow-up consultations.
- Online medication prescribing.
- Sending prescriptions to a pharmacy selected by a patient.
- Scheduling of screenings and tests (e.g., complete blood count, urinalysis, ultrasound scanning).
- Notifications for patients on scheduled medical consultations, screenings, tests.
Self-monitoring for patients
- Manual log for symptoms (e.g., cough, shortness of breath) and vitals (e.g., body temperature, pulse).
- Medication intake tracker with alerts and notifications.
- Treatment adherence log.
- Notifications for patients on scheduled appointments, tests, regular health checks.
Billing management (for patients)
- View of bills for primary care, tests, etc.
- Access to explanations of benefits.
- Online bill payment via secure payment gateways.
- Self-learning materials (e.g., articles, videos) on infectious disease prevention, chronic disease management, necessary vaccinations, healthy diet, and active lifestyle.
- Instructions on first aid (e.g., for minor injuries).
- Multi-factor authentication for app users.
- Role-based access management.
- End-to-end data encryption (e.g., of patient vitals, appointment summaries).
- HIPAA and HITECH compliance.
Key Integrations for Primary Care Telehealth Software
For correct remote diagnosing, treatment planning, virtual primary care delivery, ScienceSoft’s experts suggest integrating telehealth software with the following medical IT systems:
EHR or EMR
- to have a comprehensive view of patients’ medical history (chronic conditions, allergies, etc.).
- to log the scheduled primary care visits in EHR for further billing.
- to enable primary telehealth software integrations with accounting software, e-prescribing software, etc.
Medical imaging software
to enable access of medical staff to recent patient images (e.g., X-rays) during the follow-up appointment.
Laboratory information system (LIS)
to access patients’ test results from a doctor or a patient account and decide on follow-up actions.
Practice management system
- to enable admin access to primary care specialists’ schedules.
- to automate billing for initial and follow-up visits.
What Determines the Success of Telemedicine in Primary Care
According to a 2022 research by the Commonwealth Fund, 82% of US primary care physicians felt telehealth improved the timeliness of care delivery, 75% said telehealth allowed them to assess mental and behavioral health needs more effectively, and 77% reported satisfaction with practicing telehealth. To achieve maximum efficiency of the telehealth tool, ScienceSoft recommends focusing on:
Reliable integration with relevant healthcare software
(e.g., EHR, medical imaging software) to allow medical specialists to access all patient information from a telemedicine application for primary examination, diagnosing, and treatment.
Patient-centric software design
for high adoption and intuitive use of the primary care telehealth application for patients.
Resilient online communication with a primary care specialist
to avoid interruptions of video communication and ensure the ability to efficiently switch to audio communication or cellular network, for example, in case of low-speed internet connection.
Primary care telehealth app development usually costs from $150,000 for a solution with general features (online visits, messaging, health log, etc.) to $400,000 for an app with advanced functionality (e.g., AI-based patient chatbots, complex analytics). On average, the payback period is around 6 months.
Want to get a tailored cost estimate for your app?
Financial outcomes you get
New revenue streams due to the replacement of follow-up patient calls with reimbursable telehealth visits (Healthcare IT News).
Increased number of visits due to improved visit attendance and accessibility of remote primary care (Health Services Insights).
Improved efficiency of primary care medical staff due to optimized schedules and lower risks of contacting an infected patient.
Enhanced quality of care due to accessible telehealth-supported diagnosing and treatment of minor diseases, which helps avoid complications (Elsevier).
Increased patient satisfaction due to convenient healthcare service delivery. According to the survey, 85% of primary care patients are happy with telehealth visits.
Improved patient outcomes resulting in higher reimbursements due to faster care delivery and preventative care. (Critical Care Medicine).
Examples of Telemedicine for Primary Care
Sutter Health in California offers primary care virtually and tries to resolve a patient’s issue via a video call before scheduling an in-person appointment. After implementing the program, Sutter Health provides 90% of care services using telemedicine.
Riverwood Healthcare Center in Aitkin, Minnesota, expanded its healthcare offering with a telehealth platform for family physicians, specialty providers, and rehabilitation therapists.
Why Opt for Custom Primary Care Telehealth Software
Based on 18 years of experience in healthcare IT, ScienceSoft recommends developing a custom primary care telehealth app if you need to:
Cost-efficiently integrate the app with complex or legacy healthcare software (EHR, laboratory information system, etc.) and medical devices. In our project with the AKLOS Health physiotherapy platform, we delivered a telehealth app integrated with wearable sensors to measure the range of motion (ROM) of patients’ joints.
Leverage the functionality of different types of healthcare software (e.g., prescription verification, automated treatment planning, and patient eligibility check) within one app.
Implement advanced features unavailable in OOTB primary care telehealth solutions (e.g., AI-based analytics). When developing an app for patients with obesity, ScienceSoft implemented an AI engine for smart suggestions (e.g., personalized diet tips).
How to choose a telemedicine app for primary care?
Many standalone video conferencing tools on the market can be quickly deployed, but very few are qualified for primary care delivery. To ensure the confidential exchange of PHI, we suggest opting for custom HIPAA-compliant primary care telemedicine software or software products designed for medical use.
Primary Care Telemedicine Implementation: Success Stories by ScienceSoft
Telehealth Software Design and Development for Primary Care Practices
Customer: A US business running several primary care practices.
Solution: ScienceSoft designed and developed a functional telehealth and practice management solution MVP with the vital features. The solution consisted of a mobile telehealth app and a web portal for appointment scheduling and management.
Telehealth App Development for Chiron Health
Customer: A US telemedicine platform, Chiron Health.
Solution: ScienceSoft has developed a HIPAA-compliant Android telehealth app that allows patients to book and attend online appointments with physicians through secure video communication. The app integrates seamlessly with the existing apps (EHR or EMR, RIS, LIS).
Mobile Care Coordination App Development
Customer: A US leading health information exchange (HIE) vendor.
Solution: ScienceSoft created a mobile care coordination app that creates a continuum of care by connecting patients with their caregivers across organizations and specialties.
Having an ISO 13485-compliant quality management system for healthcare software development, ScienceSoft is ready to design and implement virtual primary care software to provide medical support to remote patients.
ScienceSoft's Customers Say
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.
Founder and CEO
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 telehealth app that complements our web-based platform for our patients. They advised and successfully led the way from end to end through the technical challenges and considerations with the 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.
ScienceSoft is an international IT consulting and software development company headquartered in McKinney, Texas, US. Having 34 years of experience in custom software development and 18 years of experience in healthcare IT, ScienceSoft offers consulting and development services to create telemedicine solutions for cost-effective primary care delivery.
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