The telemedicine solutions industry, buoyed by the implications of COVID-19, has seen the biggest boom in its history. In this article, we have identified some of telemedicine’s most formidable challenges, and look optimistically at means to surmount them through meticulously comprehensive solutions.
Data security: The nemesis?
The client information ensconced in telehealth databases are some of the most concise, wide-spectrum and relevant clusters of personal data, one of the most valuable on the black market. The consequences of a mishap, spanning from privacy contraventions and insurance claim threats to bioterrorism of cataclysmic potential, imperils the future of telehealth. At the personal level, looming fears of information leak among clients lead to non-disclosure of information deemed private, leading to incomplete diagnoses and ineffective treatment. In a not-so-distant future, where even medicine administration would be carried out through intelligent intravenous systems, ironclad security systems are imperative to effectuate any quantum leaps in telehealth.
For telehealth solutions to be secure, service providers must embrace the basic tenets of data security, keeping in mind that every mechanism is only as strong as its weakest link. The telehealth software must be robust, with means of secured channels between the client and the service provider.
Healthcare organizations need to secure their endpoints, maintain compliance with standards such as HIPAA, look for high-performance options while choosing software, establish policies and conduct training for relevant practitioners to ensure there is no theft or misuse of information and most importantly, identify a reliable technology provider to leverage their industry expertise to their advantage.
However, the measures taken by the telehealth providers are futile unless consumers also partake in security; the clients must be trained in safe practices, like the use of tough passwords and VPN, not merely for telehealth but all applications on their device(s). Customers must also be vigilant of fraudulent service providers – identifying services with standards such as HIPAA compliance would be a good start.
Low adoption rates
Another major obstacle in the telehealth industry is the slow adoption rate among the elderly, who constitute 56% of all health expenditures in the US. This is because of the disengagement of the sense of touch, which, according to experts, is the most reassuring in the doctor-patient relationship. A generation that does not feel up to speed in the tech-savvy world, the elderly are made to feel ill-at-ease, left at the bidding of apathetic robots, and thus always feeling the need for human touch.
It is problematic getting to the root of this issue, as it is humanistic and dynamic to each individual. However, telehealth companies can certainly benefit from making their services more intelligible; user-friendly wireframes and self-explanatory UI can go a long way. The most successful telehealth companies of today succeed in bringing about a sense of human touch, through the application of psychologically compatible virtual guidance systems, which would assist the patients through their routine tasks such as exercise and medicine administration.
It is pivotal to focus on identifying and resolving social constraints through IT, an approach that has been formulated over years of experience. One of our projects with a major telehealth service based in the USA comes to mind, where the use of simple UIs was decisive in doing away with clients’ dependence on bystanders, hitherto a necessity in managing the patient’s day-to-day activities. A good example of this is an intuitive solution we built for patients with neurodegenerative disease – you can find the full story here.
Telemedicine and Scalability
A look into the issues of telehealth would reveal, at a mere casual glance, how its various problems are inscrutably interrelated, with one issue seemingly originating from another. It is within this labyrinthine system that the problem of scalability lurks, the antiparticle of the challenges mentioned earlier. The solution which would be the key to the future of telemedicine, is also the most tedious, as the solutions must be sought from the perspectives of technology, economics, and culture; the data security hurdles challenge the information storage potential, while the low rate of adoption makes it difficult to scale the infrastructure of the services.
The mindset of potential clients can also be a tough nut; the consultation rates are frowned upon by traditionalists who dismiss teleconsultations as mere gimmicks employed by hospitals to extort money from immobilized and immunocompromised individuals, and therefore, opt for home consultations. Even now, these are the alternative to consultations at hospitals, while teleconsultation remains the last resort, employed mostly in counseling services and minor health concerns.
The construction of intelligent and robust solutions capable of handling large volumes of data is key here. Another one of our projects handled this particular challenge rather impressively, allowing radiologists to diagnose and process over 600 reports a day.
As we strive to mitigate the numerous other hindrances in scaling telehealth, we adhere to the rudiments of product engineering and envision molding the future of healthcare through digital healthcare solutions, where its accessibility will only be exceeded by its economic value, catapulting us to a new level of health and well-being.
If you are looking for a reliable IT partner who understands the landscape of digital health and has a diverse portfolio of healthcare projects under their belt, we might just be the right pick for you. If you would like us to accelerate your vision for digital transformation in your organization, drop a mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.