X
July 8, 2021

How to Choose the Best Telemedicine Software for your Practice

Matt McBride

Telemedicine providers are changing healthcare worldwide. More and more practices are adopting telemedicine. How can you start searching for the right solution? There are many telemedicine software options to consider, making it challenging to narrow down your options. It is even more difficult to be sure which one best fits your practice. So let’s look at some of the most important things to know when choosing the best telemedicine software for you.

What is telemedicine?

Healthcare providers can use telemedicine to diagnose and treat patients. The key difference with traditional care is less of a need for in-person contact. Patients and healthcare providers can connect from almost anywhere with telemedicine software.

Virtual visits are one of the most common uses of telemedicine software. These visits can take place over phone, video, or online messaging. A virtual visit is often more convenient for patients when they do not need in-person attention. Some health conditions or urgent needs may even require remote care. Physicians can also write prescriptions and send their patients important files like test results online.

Providers often work together to deliver effective care. Care teams can use telemedicine software to connect in a secure way. Just as important, it can make working together more efficient. For example, some platforms allow providers to submit digital prescriptions.

What are the benefits of telemedicine?

Interest in telemedicine continues to grow. There are many ways to be successful with the right solution. Practices can simplify work, reduce costs, and increase access to care.

For patients, many factors can make it difficult to get in-person care:

  • Patients may not have a vehicle, or they cannot afford transportation.
  • Some areas have few local providers to choose from.
  • Finding time to see a doctor during business hours can be difficult.

Virtual visits are more flexible and convenient for patients. Remote visits can remove obstacles to care like distance or time constraints.

Providers can become more efficient and profitable with telemedicine software. Flexible hours can mean fewer no-shows and canceled visits. Practices can acquire new patients who have more access to care, and reduce overhead costs and manual tasks.

Telemedicine can even help limit the spread of infectious diseases. We saw providers use this tactic in the fight against COVID-19. This will continue to help providers protect their patients and staff in the future.

Yet there are more and more telemedicine software options to choose from. So what do you need to consider to pick the best telemedicine software?

How do you evaluate a telemedicine software provider?

Always focus on how telemedicine will affect your practice. There are many points to consider. These three questions can point you in the right direction:

  1. Do the features of the software product meet the needs of your practice?
  2. Is the solution right for your budget?
  3. Will the company be a trustworthy partner to help you succeed

What features should the best telemedicine software offer?

Telemedicine software is more than just remote healthcare visits. There are many tools that make up a platform. It must be easy to use for you and your patients. Make sure the features address your unique goals and challenges. A well-rounded offering will give your practice better options for how to make use of telemedicine.

Healthcare is often stressful for patients. Complex logins can make that worse. Joining a visit must be quick and easy. Look at what browsers, systems, and devices any telemedicine software supports. Too many limitations can hurt patient access to care.

The time before a visit starts can be crucial. Patients need to be sure that they are in the right place when they log in. It is also important to make sure they stay engaged and avoid distractions for when the provider joins. Examine whether telemedicine software provides a welcoming virtual waiting space for patients. This can help make visits efficient and impactful, as well as reduce drop offs. For example, the Mend platform comes with an Enhanced Virtual Waiting Room experience. Patients can browse relevant health and wellness videos and articles before their visit. They also have direct access to live tech support if the need arises. How did this impact patient satisfaction? Patients who experience this virtual waiting room give their Mend visits an average rating of 4.94/5 stars.

Do sudden gaps appear in your schedule? No-shows are a big financial risk for practices. Ask how telemedicine software can help you lower your no-show rate. Automated reminders can keep patients up-to-date and reduce work for your staff. Patient self-scheduling is an easy and efficient way to book appointments. When patients are active in their care, both they and their providers benefit. Make sure that the software makes scheduling just as easy for you.

Providers need a solution that also makes their jobs simpler. Telemedicine software should deliver on this promise from the start. Software that is difficult or time-consuming to install may not be easy to work with either. Look for a solution that is easy to implement. Even if you need custom options, a vendor should work with you to make the startup as painless as possible.

Telemedicine should make day-to-day work easier for your staff. The software should be easy to navigate and understand. At its best, telemedicine software can save time and reduce staff burnout. This means your team stays focused on providing the best care.

Integrating telemedicine software with an EHR, EMR, or PMS can cut down on redundant data entry. Managing and reviewing patient charts is easier and faster when these systems work well together. How telemedicine software collects, stores, and shares data can have a large impact. Forms should be easy for patients to fill out while they wait for a virtual visit to start. Built-in payment capture can take yet another manual step out of the process.

Telemedicine software should always be secure. The risk of data breaches is a threat to patients and practices. The US government was not strict in enforcing HIPAA compliance for telemedicine during COVID-19. Yet it is unlikely that this will always be the case. Telemedicine software must protect patient privacy. 

Telemedicine is about bringing patients and providers together. Clear video and sound are an important part of that. Make sure any software offers HD video and supports clear audio. All parties must understand each other during a virtual visit. Secure messaging can complement video and audio for a seamless experience.

What is the cost of telemedicine software?

It is important to know your telemedicine software budget. Vendors should also be transparent with you. Pricing and options should always be clear. Telemedicine must adjust to fit the needs and budget of different practices. The cost of telemedicine software depends on its features and functions.

Many vendors build solutions for single-provider practices all the way up to large health networks. Custom options can also help you find the right fit. For example, Mend offers multiple options to meet different needs:

ProductPricingTop features
MendFreeFreeOur free solution offers core telemedicine features. HD video, secure messaging, live tech support, and more. No equipment or downloads necessary.
MendPractice$29 per month per provider An all-in-one package for practices with 10 providers or fewer. High-quality telemedicine software integrates with your EHR. Use digital forms, patient self-scheduling, live tech support and more. No special equipment, downloads, or fees for maintenance upgrades.
MendEnterpriseQuotedA custom solution for custom needs. Full-service implementation, payment capture, and custom workflows with the best telemedicine software. Live tech support responds in seconds to help you and your patients. No special equipment, downloads, or fees for maintenance upgrades.

Cost and pricing structure varies with different vendors. Most telemedicine software options include a subscription fee. Some may charge to install software and train users. Any special equipment needs or custom software changes may come with added costs. Maintenance and upgrades may also have a price. Some telemedicine software providers also offer extra services like patient marketing.

What makes a strong partnership?

Success depends on more than just a product. You need a lasting relationship with a telemedicine software vendor. After the initial setup, you should be able to rely on tools and support for your practice. The right vendor will want to help you grow with their product.

Learn as much as you can about a telemedicine software company's values. Review their mission statement and hear what real customers have to say. Make sure any vendor lives up to their stated values.

Always keep your eyes open to how telemedicine software vendors treat you. What is their response rate, and do they answer right away? Do they have a helpful and friendly attitude at every stage? Make sure their responses to your questions are transparent and that claims are never vague. Lastly, a quality telemedicine software vendor offers relevant material and knowledge for the providers and consumers.

IT problems can throw off appointment schedules and lead to a bad patient experience. Do your telemedicine options offer support for when these problems arise? Many telemedicine software platforms will offer support to providers, but not for patients. Make sure that both your staff and your patients can access help for technical issues. A built-in chat feature staffed by real people is one of the fastest ways to get help. Live technical support helps patients and providers stay connected for a remote visit. Fast responses are key to keeping your schedule on time.

Even the best telemedicine software should have strong tech support. Make sure to ask if technical support comes at any added cost. Also check whether or not they outsource support services. Your telemedicine software provider should offer consistent service from day one.

Not sure where to start?

Mend is an experienced telemedicine software company. We transform digital health services so you can engage and connect with patients.

We invite you to see the proof with a free demo from our experts. You can also sign up to receive more insights on telemedicine by email.

FAQs

How do you evaluate a telemedicine software provider?

The software features should meet your practice's needs. Make sure the price matches your budget. Also consider the level of service the company provides.

What determines telemedicine costs?

Monthly or annual subscription fees are often a main cost for telemedicine software. Training or equipment may come with added costs. Always make sure pricing is clear and not vague.

What are telemedicine reimbursement rates?

Many telemedicine rates are the same as in-person rates. Payers must list any difference in rates. Knowing the right billing codes can keep payments accurate.

What are telemedicine startup costs?

Startup costs include software, training, and equipment. Processes like updating care protocols and legal review may also come at a cost. Some costs depend on the practice size.

Written by

Matt McBride

Matt and 3 best friends founded Mend in 2014 to help reimagine patient and provider experiences. Mend is one of the fastest growing companies in the U.S. with a #1 rated telemedicine software platform. Mend also offers a complete patient engagement solution that seamlessly spans both virtual and in-person appointments creating a complete patient communication solution for health organizations.