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Best telemedicine software of 2020

Doctor working on laptop
Image Credit: Pixabay (Image credit: Image Credit: Pixabay)
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The best telemedicine software enables doctor and patient interactions online.

Best telemedicine software

Telemedicine software allows doctors to interact with patients via online video, which has been traditionally useful for practices with dispersed rural populations, including gaining access to specialists beyond what is locally available. In such situations, traveling to the practice can be difficult and even dangerous for patients with preexisting health conditions.

Due to the COVID pandemic, this has become an increasingly popular option for patients that are hesitant to come to the Emergency Department for more routine complaints, and also with some practices running with reduced hours, or even closed. Furthermore, telemedicine options are frequently immediately accessible, and available on a 24/7 basis, making this an attractive option for patients seeking care.

Developments in IT and mobile technology means that telemedicine software platforms have become very accessible and increasingly capable. This has been especially helpful in monitoring patients with existing conditions, even at a distance; an example of this is the monitoring of pacemakers while the patient remains at home.

Sometimes telemedicine software is offered as a standalone platform, but these days it's not unusual to find it also provided within existing medical practice management (PM) software

However, even standalone telemedicine platforms will often easily integrate with other medical software, such as for Electronic Health Records (EHR) or  to make it easier to work with patient histories, making it easier to diagnose or treat medical conditions.

Integration doesn't stop there, and good telemedicine software will usually be able to work well with medical billing software platforms, to ensure patients and insurers are properly invoiced and payments made.

The result is that whichever type of telemedicine platform you opt for, it should be able to work well with existing medical and health service software already being used.

Therefore here we'll feature the best in telemedicine software, as well as offer suggestions to also consider.

Editor's note: Looking for a telemedicine software for your business? If you're looking for information to help you choose the one that's right for you, use the questionnaire below to have our partner site, BuyerZone, provide you with information from a variety of vendors for free:

  • Want your company or services to be considered for this buyer’s guide? Please email your request to desire.athow@futurenet.com with the URL of the buying guide in the subject line.   

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(Image credit: Doxy Me)

1. Doxy Me

The little free telemedicine app

Free tier and trial
Runs in the browser
Self hosted option
Lack of mobile apps
Multiprovider plans get expensive

Doxy.me is a simple, safe, and secure telemedicine software app that runs in any browser. There's no software to download or configure, and it's easy to use, and it can usually integrate with EHR (Electronic Health Records) or PM (Practice Management) software. 

While in some ways this is an upside, the drawback here is that there are no mobile apps, which are usually easier to configure and use on iOS and Android. That said, the biggest selling point is that it's free to use for unlimited message, voice, and video communications, making it an invaluable tool for many practices.

There are also paid tiers available, which increases the features available beyond the basics. Although the Basic version is HIPAA compliant, both the Professional and Clinic tiers offer additional security and encryption on top of that. The other shortcoming of the Basic tier is the low quality of the video.

The Professional Tier includes the ability to edit waiting rooms, provide text and email notifications, as well as scheduled phone or video appointments. The video quality is also upgraded to SD or HD depending on the connection speed.

The Clinic tier, designed for a multiple physician practice, adds further features focused on administration, security, and promotion. For example, it allows for group calling, photo capture and screensharing as well as file sharing. You can also take payments through the app and have a dedicated account rep. There are monthly usage reports, marketing materials, and the ability to self-host the app and run it through your own domain.

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(Image credit: AMC Health)

2. AMC Health

For full-feature telemedicine

Comprehensive suite of services
Bluetooth device options
Clinical trial and research options
Unclear which devices supported
Opaque pricing

AMC Health offers advanced telemedicine software that focuses on health monitoring and care coordination via FDA approved medical devices. This includes tracking and Bluetooth connectivity to allow the operation of remote devices to send biometric data, which can be provided by either the patient or a caregiver.

The software allows for patient personalization with a dashboard summary which runs in real-time, to make it easier to make early assessments, guide adjustments such as medication dosing. Additionally the data can be configured into workflows. The Bluetooth option also allows for a number of devices to be used remotely, such as wireless scales, blood pressure monitors, pulse oximeters, glucometer adapters, thermometers and more.

AMC Health is also geared toward reducing costs for clinical trials into healthcare research for biopharmaceutical manufacturers and clinical research organizations.

There is no set pricing plan, which is due to the options to purchase monitoring devices, so you will need to talk to a sales rep for a quote.

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(Image credit: swyMed)

3. swyMed

The emergency care tele-provider

Can handle low bandwidth
Can integrate with hospital equipment
Emergency care on the go
Unclear support hours
Opaque pricing

swyMed provides telemedicine software for community paramedicine programs, emergency response encounters, hospital and home health monitoring. They do this by offering a mobile solution that can provide high-quality connections over limited bandwidth- as low as 60kbps.

The community paramedicine program is built for delivering real-time video communications, and supports home health monitoring especially where there is a higher risk of readmission.

The Mobile Integrated Healthcare (MIH) system is designed to provide information to first responders at the scene of an emergency in the field, or even on the hospital journey. swyMed can provide cameras and special glasses equipped with a microphone and videolink which can be integrated anywhere care is needed. swyMed can also cover Remote Patient Evaluation (RPE), Mobile Telestroke, and Monitoring during Pediatric and High Risk Transports.

For hospital care, swyMed can integrate with EHR, PM, and even medical devices. This allows swyMed to link up doctors with patients, labs, and clinics- all simultaneously.

As expected, the versatility of swyMed means that it requires a custom quote rather than having pricing based on preconfigured payment tiers.

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(Image credit: Teladoc)

4. Teladoc

The simple communications solution

24/7 phone support
Nationwide network
Only a phone signal required
Physicians do not order any tests
Opaque pricing model

Teladoc isn't a full-featured telemedicine solution, nor intended to provide guidance during emergencies. Rather, its a convenient way for patients to access a national network of doctors. Although patients can use a desktop to interact with a provider, they only need a phone app to access Teladoc. This allows them to speak to a medical professional about routine illnesses and health issues.

For individual doctors, this means they can extend their work practice or change to a more flexible working pattern by making themselves available to any patient calling up the network. This means that patient relationships are not intended to be long-term as much as simply ensuring someone is available to listen to and advise on their concerns. Doctors can access the service from a desktop or mobile app, and only a cell phone signal is required for use.

The service is strictly related to non-emergency care, and only routine prescriptions can be made out for medicines such as antibiotics, anti-histamines, or minor behavioral drugs. Controlled substances cannot be prescribed through this system, and emergency calls must be routed through to a dedicated clinic or hospital.

All in all, rather than for developing a doctor-patient relationship, Teladoc is built to serve people who simply want easy access to routine medical advice or care, such as an urgent care center.

Pricing varies according to the service provided and the insurance carrier, so patients need to contact Teladoc directly to find out more.

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(Image credit: Mend)

5. Mend

The easy telemedicine suite

Easy to use
Simplify workflows
Reduce missed appointments
No free trial
Opaque pricing

Mend is a full-featured telemedicine suite that specifically aims to increase efficiency and profitability by reducing the volume of missed appointments. It does this by adding SMS appointment reminders, online forms, and patient self-scheduling, all of which combined reduce no-shows to single percentiles.

It also offers voice and video calling, of course, but it also includes a number of automated processes to help increase workflows and productivity, not least by reducing the number of tools and screens that are required for use. It also makes online forms as simple as using drag and drop to fill them, reducing the need for manual entry.

Another feature is that it includes a number of survey options so you can discover any potential shortfalls in the way your clinic deals with patients, and by actioning any insights, reduces the likelihood of bad reviews that could be potentially damaging.

Mend aims to reduce the number of tools and screens required, can integrate with most EHR and PM software platforms.

More telemedicine software services

There are actually a number of telemedicine options out there, either available as part of a suite of services from a medical services provider, or as a standalone solution. Here we'll look at some additional options worth considering:

AdvancedTelemedicine is a service from medical software giant AdvancedMD, which provides an appointments dashboard, one-click EHR scheduling, and of course a conferencing interface. While the company offers a comprehensive suite of medical software services, it's telemedicine option can be run either as a standalone or integrated with other AdvancedMD services.

Acetiam Connect is a turnkey telemedicine solution that features video conferencing, diagnostic viewer, as well as health data exchange, on top of the usualy expected features of scheduling, statistics, and invoicing. However, no upfront pricing is provided so you will need to contact Acetiam for a quote.

MDLIVE is another telemedicine service that focuses on urgent care visits, dermatologic services, and psychiatric treatment, including counseling sessions. We like that it can be used via a simple mobile app, and the upfront pricing of $75 for an urgent care visit. Furthermore, some insurance plans have partnered with MDLIVE, making it even more affordable.

PhysicianVisit from ServicesDot.com provides a mobile app for Android or iOS devices for telemedicine sessions, and allows the medical professional to conference as well as share documents and make notes. While the app is free for patients to download and use, for service providers it costs $59 per month, though there is no contract term to become locked into.

thera-LINK is a standalone telemedicine service that allows a range of options including video link and messaging that is specifically targeted at mental and behavioral health providers. To do this it includes group of family video sessions, secure messaging, as well as scheduling, a payment gateway, as well as the ability to assign session and client notes. Pricing starts at $30 per month for up to 5 sessions.

Finally, Thera Platform offers a HIPAA compliant video conferencing and practice management software package. The basic package from $29 per month allows for unlimited sessions and clients for video conferencing, but for $39 per month a whole range of additional features become available, including interactive whiteboard, video screening, screen sharing, as well as documentation and note-taking features.