The future of telehealth is here and now, accelerated by the Covid-19 pandemic. According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), telehealth visits increased by 154% in 2020, compared to 2019. And one year later, there’s little surprise as to why.
As the coronavirus continues to make headlines worldwide, many health professionals have turned to telehealth solutions. Virtual care benefits don’t just help decrease contamination risk and reduce exposure for patients and staff.
They also include a decrease in on-site patient demand and facilitate widespread access to healthcare solutions. This has proven to be life-saving, especially for more vulnerable individuals at this unstable time.
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The road to success is windy, and the innovative world of telehealth is not without its disadvantages. The medical industry has had to rush to adjust to this new reality. Often with little time to address the challenges or find creative solutions.
As a result, more than ever before, institutions, hospitals, governments, and all types of healthcare providers are discussing telehealth benefits and challenges.
If you’re trying to keep your patients safe and your practice afloat, you must understand the future of telehealth so you can plan how to make the transition with success.
What Is Telehealth and What Is Telemedicine?
Telehealth can be defined as using telecommunication technologies (such as computers or mobile devices) to facilitate health-related services. These services include medical care, patient education and monitoring, and also telemedicine.
Telemedicine is a more specific term to describe patients’ diagnosis, treatment, and consultation via digital technologies.
Telehealth Benefits and Challenges
The pandemic increased the demand for digital and remote health-related services to unprecedented levels. However, it also highlighted telehealth benefits and challenges in a more transparent way. Let’s take a closer look at these challenges and advantages.
Main Advantages of Telehealth
The benefits of telehealth go far beyond preventing exposure to viruses and diseases. As doctors and patients transition into the digital world, more and more benefits become evident. Patients and physicians no longer need to be in the same city or even state to attend a consultation.
Those who live in rural areas or have mobility issues can better access healthcare services without leaving their homes.
The future of telehealth is also beneficial to busy parents and professionals who have little time for in-person visits. As a healthcare professional, this allows you to reach more patients, grow your practice, and sustainably increase your revenue.
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Streamlining consultations between doctors and patients is just the beginning. Health institutions of all sizes and types are adopting telehealth in their practices. Here are just a few reasons why:
- Monitoring all types of conditions can be more consistent through the use of technology.
- Patients can log their symptoms into applications and safely share them with doctors.
- Physicians can review and interpret medical imaging scans or blood test results through digital communication.
Whether it’s for remote patient monitoring, mobile health via smart devices, or the use of ingestible sensors — technology-centric healthcare is here to stay. You can now get data from IoT devices during telemedicine appointments and monitor your patients in real-time. Adopting telehealth can demand a hefty initial investment, but you can expect reduced costs in the mid and long term.
Telemedicine Risks and Challenges – And How to Overcome Them
With every new trend comes new challenges. Many physicians and owners of healthcare institutions are tentative about investing in their own solution because they are worried about the risks. However, if done correctly, medical technology should empower you and your healthcare practice to reach new heights and conquer new horizons.
Challenge: Receiving Payment and Reimbursement
Getting payment from customers online can be a challenge for teams and institutions. Private and public health insurance companies like Medicare used to have restrictions for coverage of telehealth consultations.
However, during the Covid-19 pandemic, most of these restrictions were lifted by the government for Medicare. Therefore, opening the opportunity for insurance providers. With this limitation removed, it has now become easier for healthcare institutions to receive payments or reimbursements.
Solution: Set Up Technology for Integration and Tracking
When looking for a tech partner to bring your healthcare service to the digital world, you should request that payment solutions are integrated into your current EMR/EHR system.
With the right technology, you can keep track of all reimbursement claims and organize receipts. For example, when a patient schedules a consultation via your EMR/EHR system, you can set it up to automatically track their insurance coverage.
This means that your system would send a payment request to the patient or a reimbursement claim to their insurance provider on the day of the consultation.
Challenge: Keeping Sensitive Patient Data Safe
Privacy is a significant concern for both patients and providers when it comes to health information. You must ensure that all communication ends are protected and encrypted – even on the patient side. Cyber-attacks can happen on either end, raising concern about data privacy.
Solution: Hire a Third-Party Provider with Experience in Data Privacy
Josip Radic, Deputy Director of Engineering at Scopic, explains that a third-party software development company should have experience with data privacy and HIPAA compliance. “Data in healthcare systems can be very sensitive, so healthcare companies have to take all necessary steps to prevent any type of data leakage,” Josip adds.
Most healthcare providers work closely with government agencies that regulate security guidelines and stipulate best practices. Third-party security agencies can also audit your applications to evaluate the quality of your safety implementations.
However, it is better to play it safe and have security measures in place before the audit, and other regulatory processes occur.
Challenge: Handling Massive Amounts of Patient Data
Depending on the telehealth services you offer, you may be dealing with massive amounts of data daily — from medical imaging scans and videos to patient records, and other vital information.
Managing lots of sensitive patient data is an enormous challenge and requires particular know-how and experience. The responsibility of storing such data can be a daunting problem, especially when considering the importance of information security.
Solution: Big Data Expertise and Serverless Settings
As a solution to this challenge, you should look for a dependable third-party software development partner. Focus on finding a company with vast expertise in big data and deep know-how on patient data privacy.
Another layer of data security you should consider for your application is avoiding servers. “Architect your solution in a ‘serverless’ way. This will mean you can transfer responsibilities to cloud platforms (if the software is cloud-based) or other companies that take care of system updates, maintenance, and upgrades,” Josip explains.
Challenge: Patient Retention and Digital Literacy
Transitioning your practice to digital can be a challenge. Often, a lack of digital literacy can cause patients to abandon their applications early on. You need to create accessible, flexible, and easy-to-use solutions so patients can access the app on the go from wherever they are. Ultimately, if your solution is too complicated or lacks usability, you can end up losing patients.
Solution: Invest in User Experience and Responsiveness
Sometimes, the best way to enhance patient care and streamline communication is to tailor-make your own solution. By doing so, you can create applications that fit your specific needs and overcome your pain points.
Start by considering your goals and challenges and draw up a plan of action. Make sure to research the solutions your competition is using and seek the advice of an expert.
Don’t forget to think mobile! Statistics show that more people are accessing healthcare services through their phones. Mobile applications should be a part of the solution when caring for patients and enabling communication. Your telemedicine app should not only be safe and fast but also available for any type of screen – from desktop to tablets to mobile devices.
User experience is also key. Your application must be intuitive and easy to navigate for both professionals and end-users. Enabling real-time communication to help save lives and boost patient satisfaction is not an easy task. So, make sure you are equipped with the knowledge and team you need to reach your goals.
Image source: Wikimedia Commons.
The Future of Telehealth is Upon Us. Are You Ready?
The year 2020 brought telehealth to a level that many thought would take decades, yet here we are. We still don’t know what telemedicine will look like in a few years, but we have some ideas.
The challenges are significant, but the solutions are viable. You should embrace all the benefits of bringing your medical solutions into the digital world. Partnering with a dependable software development company will help you bring your telehealth ideas to life. If your practice is ready to shape the future of patient care, telehealth solutions (scopicwoftwaredotcom) are the way to go forward.
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Fintech Kennek raises $12.5M seed round to digitize lending
London-based fintech startup Kennek has raised $12.5 million in seed funding to expand its lending operating system.
According to an Oct. 10 tech.eu report, the round was led by HV Capital and included participation from Dutch Founders Fund, AlbionVC, FFVC, Plug & Play Ventures, and Syndicate One. Kennek offers software-as-a-service tools to help non-bank lenders streamline their operations using open banking, open finance, and payments.
The platform aims to automate time-consuming manual tasks and consolidate fragmented data to simplify lending. Xavier De Pauw, founder of Kennek said:
“Until kennek, lenders had to devote countless hours to menial operational tasks and deal with jumbled and hard-coded data – which makes every other part of lending a headache. As former lenders ourselves, we lived and breathed these frustrations, and built kennek to make them a thing of the past.”
The company said the latest funding round was oversubscribed and closed quickly despite the challenging fundraising environment. The new capital will be used to expand Kennek’s engineering team and strengthen its market position in the UK while exploring expansion into other European markets. Barbod Namini, Partner at lead investor HV Capital, commented on the investment:
“Kennek has developed an ambitious and genuinely unique proposition which we think can be the foundation of the entire alternative lending space. […] It is a complicated market and a solution that brings together all information and stakeholders onto a single platform is highly compelling for both lenders & the ecosystem as a whole.”
The fintech lending space has grown rapidly in recent years, but many lenders still rely on legacy systems and manual processes that limit efficiency and scalability. Kennek aims to leverage open banking and data integration to provide lenders with a more streamlined, automated lending experience.
The seed funding will allow the London-based startup to continue developing its platform and expanding its team to meet demand from non-bank lenders looking to digitize operations. Kennek’s focus on the UK and Europe also comes amid rising adoption of open banking and open finance in the regions.
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Fortune 500’s race for generative AI breakthroughs
As excitement around generative AI grows, Fortune 500 companies, including Goldman Sachs, are carefully examining the possible applications of this technology. A recent survey of U.S. executives indicated that 60% believe generative AI will substantially impact their businesses in the long term. However, they anticipate a one to two-year timeframe before implementing their initial solutions. This optimism stems from the potential of generative AI to revolutionize various aspects of businesses, from enhancing customer experiences to optimizing internal processes. In the short term, companies will likely focus on pilot projects and experimentation, gradually integrating generative AI into their operations as they witness its positive influence on efficiency and profitability.
Goldman Sachs’ Cautious Approach to Implementing Generative AI
In a recent interview, Goldman Sachs CIO Marco Argenti revealed that the firm has not yet implemented any generative AI use cases. Instead, the company focuses on experimentation and setting high standards before adopting the technology. Argenti recognized the desire for outcomes in areas like developer and operational efficiency but emphasized ensuring precision before putting experimental AI use cases into production.
According to Argenti, striking the right balance between driving innovation and maintaining accuracy is crucial for successfully integrating generative AI within the firm. Goldman Sachs intends to continue exploring this emerging technology’s potential benefits and applications while diligently assessing risks to ensure it meets the company’s stringent quality standards.
One possible application for Goldman Sachs is in software development, where the company has observed a 20-40% productivity increase during its trials. The goal is for 1,000 developers to utilize generative AI tools by year’s end. However, Argenti emphasized that a well-defined expectation of return on investment is necessary before fully integrating generative AI into production.
To achieve this, the company plans to implement a systematic and strategic approach to adopting generative AI, ensuring that it complements and enhances the skills of its developers. Additionally, Goldman Sachs intends to evaluate the long-term impact of generative AI on their software development processes and the overall quality of the applications being developed.
Goldman Sachs’ approach to AI implementation goes beyond merely executing models. The firm has created a platform encompassing technical, legal, and compliance assessments to filter out improper content and keep track of all interactions. This comprehensive system ensures seamless integration of artificial intelligence in operations while adhering to regulatory standards and maintaining client confidentiality. Moreover, the platform continuously improves and adapts its algorithms, allowing Goldman Sachs to stay at the forefront of technology and offer its clients the most efficient and secure services.
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UK seizes web3 opportunity simplifying crypto regulations
As Web3 companies increasingly consider leaving the United States due to regulatory ambiguity, the United Kingdom must simplify its cryptocurrency regulations to attract these businesses. The conservative think tank Policy Exchange recently released a report detailing ten suggestions for improving Web3 regulation in the country. Among the recommendations are reducing liability for token holders in decentralized autonomous organizations (DAOs) and encouraging the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) to adopt alternative Know Your Customer (KYC) methodologies, such as digital identities and blockchain analytics tools. These suggestions aim to position the UK as a hub for Web3 innovation and attract blockchain-based businesses looking for a more conducive regulatory environment.
Streamlining Cryptocurrency Regulations for Innovation
To make it easier for emerging Web3 companies to navigate existing legal frameworks and contribute to the UK’s digital economy growth, the government must streamline cryptocurrency regulations and adopt forward-looking approaches. By making the regulatory landscape clear and straightforward, the UK can create an environment that fosters innovation, growth, and competitiveness in the global fintech industry.
The Policy Exchange report also recommends not weakening self-hosted wallets or treating proof-of-stake (PoS) services as financial services. This approach aims to protect the fundamental principles of decentralization and user autonomy while strongly emphasizing security and regulatory compliance. By doing so, the UK can nurture an environment that encourages innovation and the continued growth of blockchain technology.
Despite recent strict measures by UK authorities, such as His Majesty’s Treasury and the FCA, toward the digital assets sector, the proposed changes in the Policy Exchange report strive to make the UK a more attractive location for Web3 enterprises. By adopting these suggestions, the UK can demonstrate its commitment to fostering innovation in the rapidly evolving blockchain and cryptocurrency industries while ensuring a robust and transparent regulatory environment.
The ongoing uncertainty surrounding cryptocurrency regulations in various countries has prompted Web3 companies to explore alternative jurisdictions with more precise legal frameworks. As the United States grapples with regulatory ambiguity, the United Kingdom can position itself as a hub for Web3 innovation by simplifying and streamlining its cryptocurrency regulations.
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