Telemedicine in Primary Care: Key Aspects
Leveraging 17-year experience in healthcare software development, ScienceSoft designs and develops telemedicine software for remote primary care.
Primary care telehealth enables physicians, ob-gyns, pediatricians, geriatricians, mental health specialists to provide consultations via video, messaging, etc. It helps patients get treatment for minor diseases, discuss health state and wellbeing, visit behavioral therapy sessions remotely.
Telehealth software for primary care includes a cloud server, a patient app, an app for medical staff, and an admin panel.
App for patients or patients’ caregivers
- Schedule and visit online appointments with doctors, nurses, etc.
- Inform a doctor on complications or consult a doctor on disease symptoms (e.g., abdominal pain) via in-app messages, share images (photos of skin conditions, etc.).
- Log vitals and symptoms in the app.
- Access self-help materials.
- Schedule necessary offline screenings and tests, receive notifications about them, view their results.
App for medical staff
- Conduct online primary care appointments, communicate with patients via messages.
- Manage patients’ treatment process and health state.
- Create and adjust medication plans.
- Consult with other specialists (e.g., cardiologists, neurologists) on a patient's condition.
Video streaming server
Enable online audiovisual communication between the medical staff and patients requiring primary care.
Cloud data storage and processing module
- History and recordings of primary and follow-up video appointments.
- Patient-doctor messaging history.
- Images shared by a patient (e.g., photos of rash).
- Patient data (e.g., logged symptoms and vitals), and more.
Admin web panel (for telehealth application administrators, healthcare organization administrators, etc.)
- Access management for primary care telehealth app users (e.g., add/remove a user, grant rights to edit patient data).
- Edit general patient data (e.g., billing address, surname).
- Manage doctors’ and nurses’ schedules, and more.
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.
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.
Patients are interested in telehealth-enabled primary care delivery. For example, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the number of virtual primary care visits increased 35 times in the second quarter of 2020.
To implement an efficient telehealth solution, ScienceSoft recommends to focus 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.
The investments needed for the development of primary care telehealth software depend on the chosen functionality scope, the use of open-source development kits (e.g., for UI design) and ready-made components (e.g., platforms for video communication, messaging), and more. The costs range from $150,000 for a primary care telehealth app with general features, including online visits, messaging, medication plan, and health log, to $400,000 for the app with advanced features (like AI-based patient chatbots, advanced analytics of patient-generated health data). The average payback period is around 6 months.
Financial outcomes you get
New revenue streams due to replacement of follow-up patient calls with reimbursable telehealth visits.
Increased number of visits due to improved visit attendance and accessibility of remote primary care.
Improved efficiency of primary care medical staff due to optimized schedules, lower risks of contacting an infected patient, etc.
Enhanced quality of care due to accessible telehealth-supported diagnosing and treatment of minor diseases, which helps avoid complications.
Examples of Telemedicine for Primary Care
- Sutter Health in California offers primary care virtually and tries to resolve a patient’s issue by video visit before scheduling an in-person appointment. After implementing the program, Sutter Health provides 90% of care services using telemedicine.
Based on its 17 years of experience in healthcare IT, ScienceSoft recommends developing a custom primary care telehealth app if you need:
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.
Halina Batsishcha, MD, Healthcare IT Consultant at ScienceSoft, shares insights on compliance of primary care telehealth software:
"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.
Benefits of Telemedicine for Primary Care
Increased patient satisfaction
due to convenient healthcare services delivery.
for the healthcare organization due to the decreased number of missed appointments.
Improved patient outcomes
due to fast care delivery, preventative care, etc.
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 patients at their homes, schools, nursing homes, etc.
Consulting on telemedicine software for primary care
Our healthcare IT consultants will:
- Elicit requirements for primary care telehealth software.
- Elaborate on a list of telehealth software features.
- Design app architecture, integrations with the existing healthcare IT environment (e.g., LIS, EHR).
- Choose a reliable and cost-effective tech stack for a primary care telehealth app.
- Calculate development investments for a primary care telehealth app and estimate ROI.
- Design a project risk management plan.
- Guide on regulatory compliance requirements of HIPAA, HITECH, NCPDP D.0 regulations.
Implementation of telemedicine software for primary care
- Help you shape business and operational requirements for primary care telehealth software.
- Suggest, map, and prioritize features of a primary care telehealth app.
- Design app architecture, choose tech stack, design integrations with healthcare IT systems (e.g., EHR, practice management system).
- Map and plan user journeys.
- Design intuitive UX and attractive UI of primary care telehealth software.
- Develop and test primary care app with a focus on performance, accessibility, and HIPAA compliance.
- Support the telehealth app after the launch (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 an international IT consulting and software development company headquartered in McKinney, Texas, US. Having 33-year experience in custom software development and 17-year experience in healthcare IT, ScienceSoft offers consulting and development services to create telemedicine solutions for cost-effective primary care delivery.