telehealth with out an app

Telehealth can be Totally Mobile without an App

By | Telehealth | No Comments

We’ve all heard it. “There’s an app for that.” And they’re right! There is an app for almost everything. The ability to build an app, however, doesn’t make an app the best solution. In fact, for telemedicine, apps can actually present barriers to the connection that web-based tools don’t have.

Where did apps come from anyway?
Mobile apps were designed to make it simple for users to access the different features and hardware built into their mobile devices. A phone likely has a camera, storage, GPS, accelerometer, etc. Apps enabled users to tell the device to engage those hardware pieces in a specific way.

As technology evolved, HTML 5 and Responsive Style Sheets made web browsers much more flexible. Now, browsers can utilize the hardware, and the look and feel of the page can adapt to the size of the screen that you’re using. A website might look different on your laptop than it does on your smartphone. We’re now able to build web pages to look like apps without the drawbacks and barriers that apps can present.

You’re not Facebook or Instagram

Approximately 95% of all mobile apps are abandoned.

There are approximately 5 million apps on the market right now. That’s a lot of competition! Furthermore, most people only use a handful of the apps that they download regularly, and they’re not likely to search the app store for a new or exciting suite of medical tools. In many cases, users download apps outside of their trusted selection for one-time use. This is only if they download them at all.

telehealth apps

Alternatively, people do use search engines frequently, and according to The Pew Research Institute, more than 80 percent of Americans have searched the internet for medical information including locating doctors or hospitals that meet their needs.

Your search engine listing will drive people directly to your website. By using the mobile web to develop a site that delivers the interactivity of an app, you can provide a superior digital experience without requiring your users to download anything or sacrificing the flexibility to travel among devices.

Apps need to be updated
In the past, the software had to be purchased in a box every time it had to be updated. You took the disks home and manually installed each update. The Internet has removed the need to leave the house to get the updated software, but with apps, the update process is somewhat similar.

Apps are stored locally on the device and need to be updated whenever a change is made. Not all apps update automatically. As for functionality changes, app updates can become a challenge for many users.

telehealth websites

Websites, alternatively, allow organizations to publish updates and instantly ‘put’ the latest version to work without any effort on the user’s part. There is no concern about what version of the software is running on devices, and there are no support requests due to outdated software.

Consumers are running low on space and patience.
Many mobile devices come with limited storage space, and the majority of people don’t pay for extra storage when it is available. The mobile operating system alone does not consume a considerable amount of storage space. Social media apps are the next most significant consumer. Devices also contain backups, and don’t forget locally stored pictures, videos, music and other personal content. Real estate on the device’s hard drive can be hard to come by, and the apps that are first to go are the ones that don’t get used regularly.

telehealth app downloads

Software downloads and app stores can create additional barriers

App stores have two major barriers: passwords and credit cards. If you want to download an app, you need to remember your username and password for the store. A study conducted by the University of Oxford showed that 25 percent of people forget one password a day, and about 20 percent of people abandon their task due to password reset issues.

Recalling usernames and passwords is a huge barrier to participation, even for something as simple as downloading an app. Additionally, many app stores require that a credit card to be added even if the app can be downloaded for free. For users who don’t have a credit card on hand (or at all!), this process significantly delays or outright discourages app downloads.

By skipping the app store and using the web, you’re removing a significant barrier to scheduling, telehealth, and communication with your patient.

recalling usernames and passwords

Work on every device and in every browser.
Mobile phones only represent one of the many types of portable devices currently available. By focusing on an app rather than a flexible, web-based tool, you are precluding users who may access your offering from Kindles, Macs, Windows machines, and more. Telehealth is designed to increase access to care, but apps actually manage to limit access to care by being device prohibitive.

Holding a phone doesn’t lead to quality telehealth
Sessions that take place through telehealth can range from a few minutes to several hours depending on the specialty and acuity. It isn’t practical to hold a phone up for an extended period of time. In fact, it becomes a distraction and causes discomfort. A platform has to be available for different device types to ensure the most comfortable experience for both the patient and the provider.

Providers who need to connect and document simultaneously often find that using two different devices to do so interferes with the therapeutic relationship. A web-based platform enables providers to include the telehealth window on the same screen as their EMR and at the same time maintain consistent eye contact with the patient.

telehealth consultation vi website

Laptops are the second most popular device for video calls

  • 2012: Laptop, Desktop, Mobile
  • 2015: Laptop, Mobile, Tablet
  • 2017-2018: Mobile, Laptop, Tablet

While mobile usage has grown considerably for telehealth visits, many users still use computers to connect. Portable machines allow users to more easily position the screen and complete the session without holding anything. While mobile usage has grown, computers remain a significant consideration.

Apps are becoming obsolete
As operating systems and browsers continue to evolve, apps have become less essential to access a device’s hardware. Google’s latest operating system update has moved apps to the cloud rather than local storage. By the end of 2018, full access to the camera and microphone will be available through device browsers, and apps for telemedicine visits will no longer be necessary.

Mobile access is critical to the long-term success of your healthcare organization. You can achieve all of your mobility goals (and more that you didn’t even consider) by looking at the web rather than an app.

Mend Review for Telemedicine & Telehealth

By | Top Telehealth Companies | No Comments

Mend Review for Telemedicine & Telehealth

 

Mend Review for Telemedicine & Telehealth

Mend Telemedicine Review

Mend is one of the highest rated platforms for Telemedicine online so you don’t have to only take our word for it. The great part is that they go well beyond Telehealth. Consider this a communications platform for all of your front-office needs.

This is a software platform that is very affordable, enterprise grade, and going to solve way more problems than just adding virtual video visits to your practice. AND other online reviews from customers always seem to mention how great their customer service and tech support is… if you even need it.

Some of the postings online do mention connectivity as one potential downside. However, Mend seems to have a lot of tools to assist if there are connection problems. Remember, this is probably the patients first time doing a virtual visit so there could be a learning curve.

  • Instant tech support is available if staff or a patient needs it
  • Connection instructions in multiple languages
  • Automated testing built into the reminder process
  • No hoops like extra software or registrations to folks get connected
  • Real-time video connection status during the visits
  • The latest video technology is used that can operate with great quality on a fraction of a megabit at 250 Kbps

We’ve witnessed the technology work extremely well even in large Medicaid populations!

Beyond video visits, they also support messaging visits with full patient scheduling.

Integrations are also where Mend seems to have everyone beat. They have the ability to communicate bi-directionally with just about any other system out there on the market. We’re not exactly sure how they accomplish this, but we’ve seen it work in real-time with systems that have zero HL7 or API support. It’s really incredible technology. This is a huge consideration long-term!

But wait, there is more… this is a communications platform that goes beyond video to finally introduce automation and paperless solutions. Here are some examples:

  • Referrals
  • Orders
  • Leads
  • Demographics
  • Payment – insurance & credit card
  • Agreements & consents (e-signature & multi-signature forms)
  • Medical histories
  • HPI & ROS
  • Delivery of clinical summary/education back to patients
  • Satisfaction surveys
  • Treatment plans
  • Income verification
  • Appointment reminders
  • Photos
  • Other electronic files.

Finally, another very useful tool is that all of this can be wrapped up into various kiosk modes for paperwork automation and virtual visits. THis has many applications in healthcare including various inpatient scenarios.

We hope you enjoyed the Mend review and we wish you great success if modernizing care for your patients and clients.

Mend Editor rating as a Telehealth solution:

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View a full Mend product comparison to other viable Telehealth solutions

Mend website:

Mend Review for Telemedicine & Telehealth
https://www.mendfamily.com/

WeCounsel Review for Telemedicine & Telehealth

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WeCounsel Review for Telemedicine & Telehealth

 

WeCounsel Review for Telemedicine & Telehealth

WeCounsel Review

WeCounsel is a solid product, but because of the high bandwidth video technology they are using, it’s tough to really give them high marks because patients are likely to struggle to maintain a good quality connection.

Bandwidth is such a critical factor and WeCousel uses Vidyo technology, which is now obsolete to newer, Web based technologies. First, most of our Internet connections are shared whether at home, work, or out and about. Co-workers, family members, or even neighbors can affect how much bandwidth is available. Then, other programs or apps, like Facebook, can be running behind the scenes also using bandwidth. Sharing video requires downloading and uploading at the same time so to require 3 Mbps is going to be problematic. Other technologies can work great, in high definition, for a fraction of the bandwidth.

Here are some other limitations to consider:

  • Vidyo technology is not cheap, so there could be other costs here
  • Groups are limited to 3-6 and realistically 3 is probably a stretch with the bandwidth requirements
  • Online integrates with Google and other online calendars; otherwise, no integrations to clinical and back office systems
  • E-commerce is likely to have additional fees beyond a regular merchant account
  • Support can be limited
  • E-signature is likely to be an additional tool and cost
  • Mobile support is unrealistic with the bandwidth requirements unless on really strong WiFi
  • No patient scheduling available

In scanning online reviews, here are what some real users have discovered…

“Seems not to work well on mobile devices”

“But most of my clients CAN’T open, speak, see and be seen by me on video talk, unfortunately!!!”

“It is tricky for clients to set up, without assistance.”

“Some glitches with connecting.”

“No tools to identify when there are lags in service.”

“i enjoy wecounsel but sometimes my patients find difficulties with getting started. also, sometimes the video quality isn’t the best.”

“Difficulty in getting new folks set up.”

“Video quality isn’t better ham other options. Not easy to navigate around. Too many steps/lclicks to get into a session. No option to turn off scheduling or note taking features so you and client don’t get prompts. No whiteboard feature despite being advertised.”

“… clients still have struggled to get their video up and running on the first session.”

“I am fairly tech-minded, and yet found set-up and ease of operation to be somewhat challenging. Clients have had to spend time with tech support before using the platform, which is not what a new client needs to experience via tele-health.”

So there are several big issues going on here that are going to make virtual video visits difficult with this product:

  1. The bandwidth requirements are simply too steep for the average patient
  2. The Vidyo video technology requires a special software / plug-in download to work and any additional steps to connect will create problems
  3. If the patient has to log in and go through a registration process to connect, this will also create problems for a successful Telemedicine initiative

There are simply better solutions available that are just as affordable but will work far better long-term for your healthcare organization. This is your future and the future of healthcare so don’t take this decision lightly. Do the homework and understand the caveats.

We hope you enjoyed the WeCounsel review and we wish you great success if modernizing care for your patients and clients.

WeCounsel Editor rating as a Telehealth solution:

WeCounsel Review for Telemedicine & TelehealthWeCounsel Review for Telemedicine & TelehealthWeCounsel Review for Telemedicine & TelehealthWeCounsel Review for Telemedicine & TelehealthWeCounsel Review for Telemedicine & Telehealth

View a full WeCounsel product comparison to other top Telehealth companies

WeCounsel website:

WeCounsel Review for Telemedicine & Telehealth
https://www.wecounsel.com/

Doxy Review for Telemedicine & Telehealth

By | Top Telehealth Companies | No Comments

Doxy Review for Telemedicine & Telehealth

 

Doxy Review for Telemedicine & Telehealth

Doxy Review

Doxy is a low-cost Telemedicine solution, but that means it’s going to fall short on many features that your healthcare organization is going to need to be successful for the long-term.

The product does appear to be easy to use and their customer support is rated well online. However, there are very few reviews online so it might not be in wide use yet.

Notable areas where Doxy falls short of being a long-term, viable solution for a successful Telemedicine strategy for your healthcare organization:

  • No scheduling or patient scheduling – this is a huge feature limitation.
  • Limited group conferencing – this is limited to 3, which probably wouldn’t support group therapy or other group applications.
  • Zero integration – this solution isn’t going to interface with your EHR or PMS.
  • Esignature – if you need any documents signed, patients would still need to come in to do that.
  • No other forms or clinical assessments – patients would have to come into an office for that. Finding HIPAA compliant solutions to handle forms are very expensive.
  • Limited support and after-hours support – who on your staff wants to provide tech support to patients if they have trouble connecting?
  • No automated testing – this means patients will have trouble connecting to their visits.
  • Limited mobile support – iOS only… not going to work as many patients only have access to mobile or prefer to connect via mobile.
  • No messaging – asynchronous support is non-existent.

Ultimately, there are better products available out there that will support you long-term and don’t cost that much more.

We hope you enjoyed the Doxy review and we wish you great success if modernizing care for your patients and clients.

Doxy Editor rating as a Telehealth solution:

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View a full Doxy.me product comparison to other viable top Telehealth solutions

Doxy website:

Doxy Review for Telemedicine & Telehealth
https://doxy.me/

 

 

Zoom Review for Telemedicine & Telehealth

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Zoom Review for Telemedicine & Telehealth

 

Zoom Review for Telemedicine & Telehealth

Zoom Healthcare Review

Zoom is a highly rated video conferencing solution, but probably not going to be the right long-term tool for virtual connectivity with patients. Even though this tool is HIPAA compliant as Zoom with sign a BAA, it was designed to be a video conferencing solution. When treating patients virtually from their home or work, you really need something designed specifically for that.

This could be a great internal tool used for video conferencing and would allow you to discuss personal health information.

Zoom does integrate with Epic, but that is the extent of their integration technology. If you cannot integrate, this is going to really impact your Telemedicine strategy long-term.

Other features missing that you’re really going to want from a Telehealth solution:

  • E-commerce – how will you collect credit card payments for co-pays and deductibles if the patient is no longer in the office?
  • Esignature – you may need consents and other documentation that is collected in the office now.
  • Assessments – collecting any sort of clinical assessment or other forms is not possible with Zoom.
  • Support – if a patient has trouble connecting, support is going to be limited and your staff would need to provide tech support in addition to patient care.
  • Testing – if patients don’t test prior to their visit, this is going to be a problem.
  • Reimbursement – understanding payer contracts and regulations is also not going to happen with a video conferencing solution.
  • Messaging – very limited.
  • Scheduling – patients cannot schedule their own virtual visits.

The final big drawback with this solution for treating patients is the bandwidth requirements. You need at least 2Mbps up and down. This isn’t going to work well for patients, especially those using cellular service. Video reception could easily be choppy or have echoes.

We hope you enjoyed the Zoom review and we wish you great success if modernizing care for your patients and clients.

Zoom Editor rating as a Telehealth solution:

Zoom Review for Telemedicine & TelehealthZoom Review for Telemedicine & TelehealthZoom Review for Telemedicine & TelehealthZoom Review for Telemedicine & TelehealthZoom Review for Telemedicine & Telehealth

View a full Zoom product comparison to other top Telehealth platforms

Zoom website:

Zoom Review for Telemedicine & Telehealth
https://zoom.us/

About Zoom:

Zoom makes video and web conferencing frictionless. Founded in 2011, Zoom is the leader in modern enterprise video communications, with a secure, easy platform for video and audio conferencing, messaging, and webinars across mobile, desktop, and room systems. Zoom Rooms is the original software-based conference room solution used around the world in conference, huddle, and training rooms, as well as executive offices and classrooms. Zoom helps over 700,000 businesses and organizations bring their teams together to get more done. Zoom is a private company headquartered in San Jose, CA.

Lifesize Review for Telemedicine & Telehealth

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Lifesize Review for Telemedicine & Telehealth

 

Lifesize Review for Telemedicine & Telehealth

WARNING: This product is NOT HIPAA compliant.

Lifesize Review…

First and foremost, Lifesize is a video conferencing solution. This is not a solution that was designed from the ground up for healthcare and Telemedicine. You could do some generic, internal video conferencing, but Lifesize is not going to be a good option for your patients.

Facetime, Skype, and many other video tools are not HIPAA compliant so you’ll want to be very careful here to comply with state and federal regulations in regards to protecting personal health information.

You can have up to 50 participants and there is limited chat functionality with the video conferencing screen. Lifesize also consumes less bandwidth than other popular video conferencing tools.

This particular tool isn’t going to integrate with any of your back office tools like an EHR or practice management system. This is very important to consider is establishing a long-term solution for virtual care with your patients.

Lifesize was founded in 2003 in the United States.

We hope you enjoyed the Lifesize review and we wish you great success if modernizing care for your patients and clients.

Editor rating as a Telehealth solution:

Lifesize Review for Telemedicine & TelehealthLifesize Review for Telemedicine & TelehealthLifesize Review for Telemedicine & TelehealthLifesize Review for Telemedicine & TelehealthLifesize Review for Telemedicine & Telehealth

View a full Lifesize product comparison to other top Telehealth companies

Lifesize website:

Lifesize Review for Telemedicine & Telehealth https://www.lifesize.com/

About Lifesize:

For more than a decade, Lifesize has been at the forefront of video collaboration delivering high-quality technology designed to bring people together. Our focus is on developing market-leading products that deliver easy-to-use and scalable audio, web and video conferencing. We combine an integrated, best-in-class cloud-based conferencing experience, with award-winning, easy-to-use HD camera systems and HD phones so that you can connect to anyone, anywhere. It’s a meeting experience like no other.