How Much Does Telehealth Software Cost?

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The demand for telemedicine services has skyrocketed since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. Research from McKinsey shows current telehealth usage at over 38 times pre-pandemic levels, and this trend will only continue in the future. It’s clear you need to invest in the platform, but you may be wondering what goes into telehealth software costs.

Whether through video conferencing or other types of remote patient engagement, telehealth is now something patients prefer to use and often expect from healthcare providers of all kinds. Implementing an effective telemedicine program can represent a significant challenge, however.

Healthcare providers across many disciplines must seek solutions to offer effective virtual care. This presents logistical, protected health information security, and budgetary concerns. Practitioners and businesses need to ensure that their telehealth software cost is justified.


Establishing the Scope of Your Telehealth Services

No two healthcare organizations are the same. As such, the cost of your remote healthcare services and software will vary depending on factors like:

  • Number of users
  • Features
  • Hosting options
  • Platform type

The size of your organization is one of the most critical factors in determining the overall cost. The more doctors and staff you have, the higher the number of users you need to support. Many remote health systems and software tie costs directly to the number of users.

The ongoing cost of telemedicine platforms will increase significantly when upgrading resources from 200 to 2,000 users, for example. However, the price per user generally declines with higher counts, and some features use flat rates through specific service models.

The number of patients each user deals with will also impact the cost of your telehealth solution. Implementing telehealth visits requires more resources, such as increasing bandwidth and storage. With more patients and more visits, those costs will rise.

Larger healthcare organizations can also have larger scopes, not just in the total number of users but in the variety of services they offer. They may have clinics in multiple locations and across various disciplines. This requires a more robust telehealth solution, with higher costs as well.


Telemedicine System Hardware and Hosting Costs

The cost of your telehealth systems also depends on infrastructure. Hosting is one of the highest costs, providing the networking, processing, and storage necessary to realize your telehealth programs. Infrastructure is often deployed in the following ways:

  • Cloud-based
  • On-site
  • A combination of the two

On-site hosting requires hardware acquisition to host software and storage on servers at your physical site. There is also additional IT infrastructure required to support that hardware, which costs time, money, and space. On-site hosting can also provide more control over your resources.

Cloud-based hosting relies on offsite resources accessed through an agreement with a healthcare managed services provider (MSP) or other IT organization. You don’t make a significant investment in hardware at the start but instead, pay regular fees for resource use. Cloud hosting is also the most commonly used infrastructure among healthcare providers.

Cloud service models can let your organization pay only for the resources it uses while having the option to scale rapidly when needed. Today, web-based solutions offer high security as well. You can implement HIPAA-compliant telehealth using purely cloud-based solutions.

Depending on the features you need, a cloud solution can cost up to $300+ per month per user, and may scale into the thousands.

The power of cloud computing also includes benefits such as no software licensing fees, no downloads needed, and no space taken up by hardware required for on-site infrastructure.

Another important consideration is the cost of specialized equipment on the patient’s side. While video conferencing and virtual visits are possible through just about any device, your specific practice may benefit from other equipment.

Is Your Practice Ready to Offer Telehealth?

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Examples such as heart rate monitors, digital stethoscopes, or even ENT scopes are solutions for remote patient monitoring. This lets doctors acquire more practical information during virtual visits instead of requiring in-person visits for basic evaluations.

These medical devices will have their own costs associated with their purchase and depend highly on your specific area of practice. Working with the right service provider can help you make the most of options like these for your telehealth programs.


Telehealth Software Costs and Features

Telehealth encompasses an extensive range of services, from video calling to transmission of patient data. (For example, if a radiologist reads the results for a patient in another county.) It also includes the back-end details that don’t directly deal with patients but your organization needs to handle to keep the program running.

This means that many different features will go into your telehealth solution. The number and nature of those features will have a significant impact on the overall cost of your program.

The most basic telehealth programs will feature some form of web-based communication, generally a video conferencing tool. Even this basic implementation requires a careful approach, as security and confidentiality are critical in any healthcare setting.

Cost of Telemedicine

Credit: Pexels

More advanced systems often feature a mobile app that grants more usability and features for patients. The use of notifications, account management, virtual waiting rooms, and other quality-of-life improvements make for a more streamlined patient experience.

Integrated medical billing is another key feature you need in any long-term telehealth program. Working with insurance and other payment sources through your system can make things easier for your patients. You can even implement online prescriptions for patients.

Patient and appointment management and communications is another vital area to get right. You want quality appointment-making and calendar tools within your system. Data from SingleCare shows that 66% of patients prefer telehealth for follow-ups.

Your telehealth system may require additional features unique to your application. Real-time monitoring for remote medical devices, patient journals for behavioral health analysis, and more. These features can carry additional costs or even require custom implementation.


Other Potential Costs for Telehealth Platforms

When establishing your telehealth program, you need to be sure that you understand all of the associated costs. Working with the right healthcare MSP makes this easy, as all of your expenses will be consolidated into a single service agreement.

Telehealth Software Cost

Source: Ruby

Once your telehealth program is in place, you will need ongoing IT support. Telehealth isn’t a one-and-done project but an ongoing program that requires active support. You need to include the cost of this technical support in any cost analysis, including both remote and on-site support.

Employee training is another cost that healthcare organizations may overlook. While the right telehealth platform can offer intuitive use, that doesn’t mean your employees don’t need training at all. They’ll need to learn specific software, along with how to handle electronic health records.

When implementing any type of program, healthcare providers must ensure compliance with HIPAA and other regulations. You’ll need to evaluate your telehealth program for compliance and perform the ongoing monitoring necessary to maintain compliance, which can incur costs.

The potential benefits of successful telehealth implementation and the risks associated with poor implementation merit working with professionals for your program. You can ensure that you get the most for your budget and address all costs by working with a healthcare MSP.


Reduce the Cost of Telemedicine With the Right Healthcare MSP

With so many different factors to consider, it’s clear that there’s no one-size-fits-all solution for your telemedicine program. You need a healthcare MSP that can match your needs to the specific features to create a telehealth program that works for both doctors and patients.

Our team ensures that you have the right HIPAA-compliant telehealth platforms to deliver ease of use, security, and the features you need to provide quality patient care.

Contact ISOwire today to discuss your telehealth needs. We’ll develop a solution that works for you regarding telehealth software performance and budget.


Featured Image Credit: Unsplash