Medicine is taking huge forward strides by integrating the most recent technologies into practices. These days, telemedicine is no longer seen as futuristic, and more people than ever are using services like e-therapy and fitness trackers to complement conventional treatment.

And communities are embracing this new type of medicine, investing resources into e-clinics and promising research that takes blended care in new, exciting directions.

Read on to discover how e-clinics work, what to expect when attending one, and how they operate so effectively with the help of specialized software.

What Is an e-Clinic?

E-clinics are medical organizations that use telemedicine – providing medical services via the Internet. Whether as part of a conventional clinic or a stand-alone entity, e-clinics are offering patients new opportunities to be checked by doctors quicker, with fewer costs, but while receiving the same quality of care as in-person services.

E-clinics can cover a wide range of medical sectors, such as:

  • Clinical consultations
  • Imagery
  • Rehabilitation, and
  • Monitoring of patients with chronic diseases.

Short History of Telemedicine

E-clinics come under the broader umbrella of virtual care or telemedicine, which defines the use of telecommunications to provide medical and mental health services.

Telemedicine is not new at all and was used as soon as the first telephones connected people across the world. According to some sources, the first recorded instance of someone using a telephone to remotely send medical information to a doctor was back in 1948.[1]

From Telepsychiatry, Forward

The first medical specialty to regularly use telecommunications was psychiatry. Telepsychiatry thus began when doctors at the Nebraska Psychiatry Institute would broadcast live to patients in different rooms to avoid the difficulties of transporting them across the building.

Ever since its first medical applications in the healthcare sector, telemedicine has adopted more and more technological innovations that allow valuable patient services to be delivered remotely.

Ever since its first medical applications in the healthcare sector, telemedicine has adopted more and more technological innovations that allow valuable patient services to be delivered remotely.

And as we move forward, its immediate results and evidence of its efficacy continue to support its exponential progress.

More recently, the internet has transformed how we gather information and interconnect, and telehealth is increasingly becoming the norm. In the United States alone, the healthcare industry has had telemedicine regulations and associations in place for over a decade.

For consumers, that means ever more e-clinics are opening up to the public, while conventional clinics are adding cybermedicine to their list of services.

At this rate of growth, we are excited about what the future holds for telemedicine. With novel and inspiring applications taking place in virtual reality and artificial intelligence, it’s hard not to wonder what the future will bring.

Pros and Cons of E-Clinics

There is no doubt that telemedicine and e-clinics bring many benefits to the communities they serve.

Online services based on entirely virtual care platforms are already established as reliable service providers for patients who cannot or won’t leave their homes. Elsewhere, e-clinics form part of conventional clinics, designed to help patients and the staff during busy periods.

But no, it’s not all good news. As with most aspects of healthcare, e-medicine has its limitations. Studies are still being conducted to explore the ways remote medicine affects the outcome of certain treatments, and technical issues are being addressed by developers who specialized in digital clinical solutions.

Below, we’ve compared the main advantages and disadvantages that patients can expect when using an e-clinic:

Advantages

Disadvantages

  • Same Services, Lower Cost

E-clinics cuts down many costs for both patient and provider.

Cheaper medical services are sometimes vital in poor communities where people may postpone medical treatment because they cannot afford it.

Some of the costs that are eliminated by e-health include:[2][3]

  • Transportation – for both patient and doctor
  • The need for a cabinet – for virtual clinics
  • Lost working hours, and
  • Other expenses, such as a babysitter or a homesitter when away, etc.
  • Cyber Security: Protecting Medical Data

 One of the most pressing issues for today’s medicine is cyber security. Private patient data can be very valuable and highly monetized, making it especially vulnerable.

Medical providers have a duty to take security measures when handling patient data, and patients have the same responsibility to keep their information secure as well.[4]

Cyber attacks are an issue even for conventional clinics, as most modern documentation is already managed electronically.

But for e-clinics with online medical services, online security may be even more of an issue.

Staff and patient training around secure data storage is a necessity in addition to training in the adopted IT security solutions.

  • Shorter or No Waiting Time

Long waiting lines and delayed appointments all contribute to poor client satisfaction in conventional medicine, as well as the cost of medical services.[5]

With e-clinics, there is little to no waiting time, which can greatly improve patient satisfaction.

  • Doctors Cannot Intervene in Crisis Situations

 With at-home patients, it can be very difficult to find trained medical staff to assist them physically.

In crisis situations, remote doctors cannot intervene as effectively or quickly as they can as in-person.

This is usually discussed prior to the consultation and included in the informed consent form as a preventive measure. By outlining the potential risks, doctors and patients develop backup plans for emergencies.

  • Same Quality of Service

For many procedures, consultations, and treatments, online medicine can be done at the same quality level as conventional medicine, as long as regulations are met, technology is used properly and practitioners are properly qualified.

With a combination of video conferencing and high-tech medical instruments, or regular instruments maneuvered by a technical assistant in a physical clinic, e-clinic doctors can now remotely consult patients as effectively as they can in-person.[6]

  • Telecommunications Can Have Interruptions

With any tech, interruptions are inevitable.

Voice and video therapy software that is used in telemedicine tries to prevent these problems, but sometimes a poor internet connection is enough to interrupt a consultation

Backup solutions may be costly for patients who want online medical services.

  • Accessibility to Patients in Remote Areas

One of the most important benefits of virtual care, the ability to deliver services in remote locations is the kind of societal impact that motivates government investment.

For communities with few doctors, being able to reach someone in a different area can make a huge difference.

Rural areas, in particular, benefit the most from online and other remote medicine services. In many cases, e-clinics can be used to implement advanced, new healthcare approaches that are not locally available.[7]

  • Requires Computer Literacy

In the same register, technical problems can be caused by limited doctor or patient computer literacy.[8]

Training both to use and troubleshoot e-health solutions like behavioral health systems is essential in the long-term, as it ensures maximum effectiveness of the online medical service.

Regular training should be held for staff who is working with online technology to treat patients, and the topics covered should be focused on security, user experience, and the effective use of the available tools.

  • Easier Documentation Management

Telemedicine software in e-clinics is designed to reduce admin time to a bare minimum.

This gives doctors more time to consult and treat patients while keeping staff satisfied and rested for their core roles.

Patients may benefit directly from this, waiting less for appointments, while still receiving comprehensive medical reports.

  • Depends on Patient Collaboration

While less common, e-medicine is sometimes still met with skepticism. Where patients don’t want to cooperate, telemedical services are near impossible to deliver effectively.

Thus, until telemedicine becomes more well-established, practitioners sometimes need to put extra effort into regulating online services and proving trustworthiness.

  • Higher Patient Satisfaction

Overall, higher patient satisfaction brought by all these benefits contributes to a better medical service, because it allows e-clinics to keep funding innovation and improvement.

High patient satisfaction, especially for those who suffer from chronic diseases, can mean a better overall quality of life.

Medical Specialties That Can Exist in an E-Clinic

Just about any medical specialty can exist in an e-clinic, just like in a real one. All medical specialties can benefit from at least the partial application of cybermedicine, from the ER department to nutrition, telepsychiatry, or dentistry.

The most successful cybermedicine applications are currently taking place in the mental health sector, with telepsychology and telepsychiatry already being part of the norm.

Many people are surprised to find out that other specialties can be covered by cybermedicine – however technology can benefit many sectors, from business coaching and fitness businesses.

All this is possible because virtual care tech not only enables us to talk to patients, but with it, practitioners can also consult, prescribe on online treatment plans, and monitor their progress for better results.

The most successful cybermedicine applications are currently taking place in the mental health sector, with telepsychology and telepsychiatry already being part of the norm.

As the latest technology advances, we can expect a wider range of medical services being included in the telemedicine industry.

With each technological step forward, there is also more public openness toward remote medical services and more involvement from governments and institutions.

Examples of Software Used in E-Clinics

Remote medicine software should meet a few requirements to ensure good quality service, secure data, and ease of use. With this in mind, developers are continuously trying to improve this sector, as it grows exponentially and integrates more exciting technology.

We have selected a few software examples that can be used in remote medicine.

In this table, a little more about how they could help you as a practitioner.

Software

Details

AMC Health E-ClinicAMC Health allows medical professionals to assess patients and create treatment schemes, as well as measuring the progress of their patients.

It can be paired with medical devices to collect data and use it in statistical reports. It’s also a great tool for live video conferencing, which gives doctors and patients a safe and easy way to use the platform for the medical services they receive/provide.

NameAMC Health
PriceOn request
Good ForVideo Conferencing, Data Collection and Analysis, Treatment Planning
Websitehttps://www.amchealth.com/

Software

Details

Doxyme E-ClinicDoxy.me is a valuable tool for practices everywhere, as it is free to use and easy to learn.

It is compatible with desktops and mobile devices and doesn’t require difficult installation or configuration. It has a Basic version and paid tiers that add up features.

The free version is HIPAA-compliant, and the paid versions have even more integrated security measures to make sure your data is secure from cyber-attacks.

NameDoxy.me
PriceFree+ monthly
Good ForPractice Management, Billing, Scheduling, Communication
Websitehttps://doxy.me/
Software

Details

Teladoc E-ClinicOne of the most simple and effective software solutions for telemedicine is this simple app that only works with a phone signal.

Not needing an Internet connection can be a great advantage for the people in remote areas who don’t have network coverage. As such, they can contact doctors and get medical advice when needed.

NameTelaDoc
Price$49+ per visit
Good ForePrescribing, Virtual Consultations
Websitehttps://www.teladoc.com/

Software

Details

SwyMed E-clinicsA software program dedicated to emergency care, swyMed supports live video and teleconferencing in emergency situations, even when the bandwidth is as low as 60kbps. This can provide vital information to emergency care medical staff, who can better assess the damage and the course of action that should be taken.

Besides being performant in low bandwidth scenarios, swyMed is also highly versatile for hospital care. It can be integrated with Electronic Health Records, PM, and medical devices, making it capable of linking patients to doctors, doctors to clinics, medical devices to practitioners, and more.

NameSwyMed
PriceOn Request
Good ForVideo Conferencing, e-Prescribing, EHR, Emergency Care
Websitehttp://swymed.com/

Final Thoughts

Here, we’ve considered just a very few great e-health software solutions currently making telemedicine better and better. As doctors and e-clinics vary in terms of services, doubtless, more advanced, subsector-specific software options will become available.

By choosing a solution that’s tailored to your particular practice needs, you’re in a better position to streamline your practice management, improve client engagement, and deliver better health outcomes for even more patients, even more efficiently.

Is there any software or functionality that you feel we’ve missed out on? Let us know your thoughts in a comment below.

References

  1. ^ Nesbitt, T. S. (2012). The evolution of telehealth: Where have we been and where are we going. In Institute of Medicine (2012). The Role of Telehealth in an Evolving Health Care Environment: Workshop Summary (pp. 11-16). Washington DC: National Academies Press.
  2. ^ Gelber, H., & Alexander, M. (1999). An evaluation of an Australian videoconferencing project for child and adolescent telepsychiatry. Journal of Telemedicine and Telecare, 5(S1), 21.
  3. ^ Ashwick, R., Turgoose, D., & Murphy, D. (2019). Exploring the acceptability of delivering Cognitive Processing Therapy (CPT) to UK veterans with PTSD over Skype: a qualitative study. European Journal of Psychotraumatology, 10(1), 1573128.
  4. ^ APA. (2020). Guidelines for the Practice of Telepsychology. Retrieved from https://www.apa.org/practice/guidelines/telepsychology
  5. ^ Stroetmann, K. A., Jones, T., Dobrev, A., & Stroetmann, V. N. (2006). eHealth is Worth it. The economic benefits of implemented eHealth solutions at ten European sites. Luxembourg: Office for Official Publications of the European Communities.
  6. ^ Palylyk-Colwell, E., & Argáez, C. (2018). Telehealth for the Assessment and Treatment of Depression, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, and Anxiety: Clinical Evidence. Ottawa: Canadian Agency for Drugs and Technologies in Health.
  7. ^ Trott, P. (1996). The Queensland northern regional health authority telemental health project. Journal of Telemedicine and Telecare, 2, 98.
  8. ^ TUCPH. (2019). Digital literacy gaps could limit benefits of online health tools. Temple University College of Public Health. Retrieved from https://cph.temple.edu/about/news-events/news/digital-literacy-gaps-could-limit-benefits-online-health-tools

Related Articles

What is Applied Behavior Analysis? 8 Apps To Try
Mental Health Coaching and The Coaching Apps Helping Practitioners